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VOL. I. 





















"SOME authors treat in their works exclu- 
sively on history, as el-Mas' udi in his book 
entitled THE MEADOWS OF GOLD ; in which 
he describes the state of the nations and 
countries of the East and West, as they 
were in his age, that is to say, in 330 (332), 
A.H. He gives an account of the genius and 
usages of the nations, a description of the 
countries, mountains, seas, kingdoms, and 
dynasties ; and he distinguishes the Arabian 
race from the Barbarians. El-Mas'udi be- 
came, through this work, the prototype of 




all historians to whom they refer, and the 
authority on which they rely in the critical 
estimate of many facts, which form the 
subject of their labours. 

"Then came el-Bekri, who followed the 
example of el-Mas'udi, but only in geogra- 
phy, and not with respect to other subjects 
(ethnography and history) ; for the changes 
which had taken place in his time, since 
el-Mas'udi, in the relative position and state 
of nations, and in the spirit of times (literally, 
the generations) were not material. But, 
at present, at the end of the eighth cen- 
tury, a complete revolution has taken place 
with the Maghrib, where we live. 

"I take advantage, in this book, of all 
the opportunities of collecting information 


which are at my command here in the 
Maghrib, to give an idea (of human society 
and its history), and a systematical and 
full account (of the facts referring to this 
subject). But my particular object is to 
describe the Maghrib, and the condition of 
the inhabitants of this part of the globe in 
different periods (literally, the condition of 
the generations) and of its various nations, 
and to give a narrative of the kingdoms 
which flourished here, and of the dynasties 
which ruled over it. I must exclude the 
history of other countries, for I do not know 
the condition and circumstances in which 
the Eastern countries, and the nations who 
live there, are ; and mere report, however 
exact it may be, does not enable me to 
accomplish the task which I have in view. 
El-Mas'udi has fully accomplished this task, 
having made very extensive journeys, and 


examined almost all countries, as we learn 
from his book ; but where he speaks of the 
Maghrib, his account is too short/' (Ibn 
Khaldun, Proleg.) 

The frequent quotations and extracts 
from el-Mas'udi, in other Arabic authors, 
show that Ibn Khaldun' s opinion of our 
author was universal. And we cannot hesi- 
tate to compare him with the Jonian histo- 
rian : If it is the warmth for his own 
nationality and tenets without prejudice 
against what is foreign; the elasticity of 
mind to receive impressions, and to appre- 
ciate opinions, without want of firmness and 
principles ; the thirst for correctness of 
information without preconceived criticism, 
which rejects what is unknown, if it differs 
from known facts ; the vastness of experi- 

c .s 

MS. of Leyden, 
No. 1350, foL 12; addit. MS. of the British 
Museum, No. 9574, fol. 23. 


ence and deep learning acquired through 
extensive journeys, frequent intercourse 
with men of all nations and opinions, with- 
out neglecting that self-knowledge which is 
acquired in solitary self- contemplation and 
the basis of history ; and if it is that ex- 
tensive knowledge and enlarged mind which 
embraces all the past, reflecting on the 
present; and that sound criticism, which, 
entering into the feelings of nations, and 
penetrated by those ideas, imaginations, 
and tendencies, which mankind feel at all 
times, selects what is national and charac- 
teristic although it may not always bear the 
stamp of logical reasoning ; if it is for these 
merits that Herodotus has acquired the 
name of Father of History, and of the great- 
est of all Historians, el-Mas'udi has a just 
claim to be called the Herodotus of the 
Arabs. Combining, like Herodotus, ethno- 
graphy and geography with history, and 
learning with experience and oral informa- 
tion, he distinguishes between the various 
nations of the East, and gives us a picture of 
their innate character ; then he follows up 
those ideas and principles, which, under the 


form of religion for the uneducated, and as 
philosophy or as an instrument to lead the 
great mass, for men in power, have grown up 
from the character of each nation, or were 
embraced by the nation, if they had been 
first pronounced by one man or a prophet. 
He shows us particularly, in the second 
part, how such opinions served as a spiritual 
link to connect man with man, to strengthen 
the ties of blood and language, and to cover 
interests with the veil of sacredness ; and 
how religious opinions brought nations into 
conflict with each other. 

El-Mas' iidi has the merit of treating the 
tenets of all sects with equal attention; and 
ancient traditions which had existed in the 
East for thousands of years, seem to have 
been melted, as it were, in his mind, into 
one original idea, as they had flowed from 
one common source. In this respect, even 
his History of the Creation is of interest ; 
for he unites the traditions respecting cos- 
mogony which were kept up in the East, 
together with the documents of Moses and 
Sanchoniaton, with the Scriptural accounts*. 

* This may be shown by the classification of the fruit trees 


Although the praise which Ibn Khaldun 
gives to El-Mas'udi, considering him as the 
Imam of all Arabic historians, does not 
apply to the first period of Arabic literature ; 
yet he may indeed be considered as the re- 
presentative of the learning of the second 
period : the importance of his work must 
therefore be identified with that of Moham- 
medan literature generally. But the useful- 
ness of Oriental studies has been questioned 
by a class of men whose opinions deserve 

which el-Mas'udi gives, p. 60 infra, which is a tradition of 
the Guebres, and agrees as well with the Zend-Avesta, as if it 
were a translation: " Tout arbre qui vient dans les deux Mondes, 
(dont) le bois (est) sec ou humide, et qui est cultive (par la main 
de 1'homme), porte des fleurs et des fruits, est de trente especes. 

Dix (de ces) especes (portent des fruits) dont on peut manger 
le dedans et le dehors, comme le figuier, le pommier, le coignas- 
sier, 1'oranger, la vigne, le murier, le dattier, le myrthe, et les 
autres arbres de cette espece. 

Dix (especes portent des fruits), dont on peut manger le de- 
dans, comme le dattier, le pecher, 1'abricotier blanc, et les autres 
arbres de cette espece. 

Ceux-ci (les dix dernieres especes, portent des fruits), dont 
on peut manger le dedans, et dont on ne doit pas manger le dehors, 
s^avoir, le noyer, 1'amandier, le grenadier, le cocotier, le noisetier, 
le chateignier, le pistachier sauvage, le noyer, dont le fruit a la 
coquille tendre. II y a encore beaucoup d'arbres fruitiers de cette 
espece." (Boun Dehesch xxvii., vol. ii., p. 406.) 


respect. These dry grammatical studies, 
being mostly a task for memory, enslave the 
mind, and contract its horizon, instead of 
enlarging it ; whereas, all pursuits which 
have no practical use should contribute to 
raise the energies of man, to enlarge his 
views on the condition of mankind, and to 
make him more free. This is their language. 
It is, therefore, the best introduction for the 
reader to our author, and for our author to 
the reader, to devote this Preface to some 
considerations on the relation of Oriental 
studies to the present state of European 
knowledge. It is the more necessary to 
speak on this point, that the reader may 
know the tendency of the notes of the trans- 
lator, otherwise he might be blamed for his 
endeavour, because it cannot be denied, that 
the senseless learning displayed by some 
philologists, of all denominations, in their 
notes, full of useless quotations, are the 
overflowings of a weak brain, but industrious 
hand, and as offensive to common sense as 
the eructations of a weak but overloaded 
stomach, with which they may be compared. 
It may be presumed that, if we had an 


exact picture of the rise, progress, height, and 
downfall of a nation, we might, by compari- 
son, come to the result, that there are cer- 
tain laws in the growth of nations, as we 
observe them in individuals, which develope 
certain faculties and feelings at certain 
periods of historical life.* And how should 
it be otherwise, since we find that certain 
tendencies, wants, and ideas, are as con- 
stantly met with in the mind of man, under 
every climate and circumstance, as the laws 
of nature are in matter ? So, for instance, 
there is no human being who has not a ten- 
dency to rise above others, as there is no mat- 
ter without gravity. The spirited feels this 
tendency as ambition, the idle as vanity, the 
weak as fashion, the affectionate mother as 
love and foresight for her child, and only the 
self-conceited carries his vanity so far as to 
think that he is free from it. In a society 

* Ibn Kaldun, who started this idea four or five centuries 
before Herder and Lessing, devotes a chapter of his Prolego- 
mena to it, which is inscribed 3UxA>Jb j\\ l$! J^jJJ /.^J ^ 
(jolacvJi $ " that ruling nations go through natural periods 
of life like individuals." 


where all are equal, every one will strive 
to raise himself above the rest, and to|rule; 
and if one man stands so high that he cannot 
be outdone, it will appear a worthy prize of 
exertion to approach him, and to gain his 
favour by servility. The ambition of youth 
consists in noble enthusiasm; but as soon as 
man has been taught by disappointment to 
be wise, and as soon as he is rooted and fet- 
tered to life by wife and children, his objects 
are morematerial. There is no great action, 
good or bad, to which youth cannot be led 
by imagination, as there is no baseness and 
dishonesty to which a married man is not 
ready, provided it promises a safe profit for 
himself and his race. We find exactly the 
same in nations. What high actions were per- 
formed by the Arabs when they first came forth 
from their deserts ; and to what baseness did 
they sink when their state had become old 
and rotten ! The Greek and Roman history 
presents us with more known, but not more 
decided, examples ; for the rest there is no 
need of going so far; we find examples at 
home. The history of modern Europe dates 
since the Crusades, when the sceptre of the 


world was wrested from the hands of the 
Arabs, who had pushed their conquests over 
Europe as far as they wished. Is not the 
enthusiasm which then enlivened nations 
compared with the tendency of our age, in 
which wealth alone gives claim to the honours 
and privileges of the Peerage, like the noble 
impetuosity of youth in comparison with 
senile avarice ? Ibn Khaldun believes, there- 
fore, that the following are the periods of 
life through which a nation that has arrived 
at power will go: 

" On the phases of the dynasty and the 
changes of its state and condition. The 
nomadic manners of the members of the 
dynasty (who have subjected the country 
through their nomadic bravery^ in the va- 
rious phases. 

" Know that the dynasty passes through 
various phases and revolutions ; and the 
members of the dynasty (the men in power) 


show in every phase a different character 
which is consistent with the circumstances 
of the respective phase, and different from 
that of every other phase, for we are crea- 
tures of circumstances (literally, for the cha- 
racter of man follows in its nature the crisis 
of the circumstances under which he is 
placed). The conditions and phases of a 
dynasty may generally be reduced to five. 

" The first is the phase of conquest, by 
invading the country, overcoming resistance 
and any difficulties which may be opposed, 
and by making one's self master of the sove- 
reign power, and wresting it from the hand 
of the preceding dynasty. In this phase the 
man (or family) who stands at the head of 
the dynasty (i. e. conquerors) will be on a 
level with the rest of the conquering nation, 

*AJ yfc g&l 
^ilaJi ;> b$\ j\J 


and be distinguished neither by majesty nor 
by a greater share in the revenue, nor will 
his person be particularly protected and 
sacred. He will not enjoy any privilege 
before the rest, as a natural consequence of 
patriotism, which alone gives conquest, and 
which does not (immediately) cease after 

"In the second phase the man who 
stands at the head of the dynasty, ac- 
quires the sovereignty over his own nation : 
he appropriates to himself exclusively the 
royalty (over the conquered nation), and 

* By rendering the word XxXAaxJI, I change an Arabic idea 
into an European notion. The Arab loves his family, his tribe, 
and his nation: they are his parents, his brothers, his children. 
But the free Bedouin is not attached to the soil. We have a 
similar predilection for our native soil. Compare the note to 
page 176, infra. 



keeps his tribe at a distance, instead of allow- 
ing them an equal share (in the emoluments 
of the conquest), and of associating with 
them. The characteristics of this phase are, 
that the sovereign will connect a great num- 
ber of men with his personal interests, by 
office and adoption, with whom he sur- 
rounds himself to counteract the overbearing 
character of his countrymen (relations) who 
have assisted him in the conquest ; and who, 
having equal claims by birth, demand an 
equal share in power. He excludes them 
from the administration, keeps them at a 
distance from his person, and repels them 
if they should intrude, to the end that the 
power may remain in his hands, and that 
his family may be distinguished by the ma- 

jUii, 3U4UJ5 

(UU-o) Uxx^j^UJ *k ^ XJ^xJt 


jesty of which he has laid the foundation. 
He is now as anxious to keep them off, 
and to subdue them, as the first conquerors 
were in their contest for the kingdom : and 
he goes still further than they did ; for they 
had to do with foreigners, so that the differ- 
ence between the two parties was distinctly 
marked, for they were all connected by 
patriotism in their wars, whereas he has to 
contend with his relations; and his assistants 
in his manoeuvres are the minority, consisting 
of strangers : he must therefore brave diffi- 

" In the third stage he gives himself up to 
comforts, for he has attained his object, and 
is now enjoying the fruits of the supreme 
power, indulging in pleasure, for which the 


human mind has a natural inclination : as to 
increase the revenue, to found lasting monu- 
ments, to have great fame. The sovereign, 
therefore, directs his intentions towards the 
revenue department and increases it j he keeps 
the balance between income and expend- 
iture; he calculates the expenses and the 
object which he gains by them ; he erects 
numerous buildings, great fabrics, extensive 
cities, and lofty public monuments ; he re- 
ceives the nobles of the nation and the chiefs 
of the tribes who come as envoys to his 
court to do him homage ; and he is kind to 
those who are in his service. His favourites 
and suite enjoy at the same time great wealth 
and importance ; his standing army is kept 



in good order ; they have ample pay, which 
is regularly received every new moon ; the 
consequences of this regularity are to be 
seen in their dress, uniform, and appearance, 
on parade days. The allies of the sovereign 
in this phase boast of his friendship, and his 
enemies are filled with fear. This is the 
last phase of the sovereignty of those who 
stand at the head of the dynasty (i.e. the 
conquerors), for, hitherto, the conquerors 
have had absolute power to follow their 
views ; they were distinguished by grandeur, 
as luminaries to posterity. 

"The fourth phase is that of being 
contented^ and of conservatism. The man 
who stands at the head of the conquerors 


will content himself with keeping up what 
his predecessors have done ; (he is no longer 
the mere Emir of the conquering tribes,) but 
he is equal to any other king, being an auto- 
crat : he confirms what his predecessors have 
done and imitates them step by step (lite- 
rally, he follows their slippers and shoes 
with his shoes). He acts in all instances 
after precedents, considering any deviation 
from their institutions as destructive, for 
he thinks they must have best understood 
the principles upon which they built his 

"The fifth phase is that of prodigality 
and extravagance (and reform). The sove- 
reign will squander away in this phase what 
his predecessors have gathered ; giving him- 
self up to pleasure and lust, and by prodigality 


towards his intimates and courtiers, by pa- 
tronising favourites of bad character, and a 
numerous rabble without principles, whom 
he appoints to the most important offices, 
which they are unable to manage ; for they 
know neither what they have to do, nor 
what they have to avoid. Thus the great 
men who guide the (ruling) nation (by moral 
influence) and those who had come to impor- 
tance through the favour of former sove- 
reigns, are injured; hence, they take a 
dislike to the sovereign, and refuse to lend 
him their assistance : his army will thus be 
ruined, for the luxurious court spends the 
means in pleasures, instead of giving them 
their pay; he excludes them from every 
office in the administration, and does not 
show them any attention. Thus he destroys 


what his predecessors have built. In this 
phase the symptoms of the decline of the 
dynasty manifest themselves,, and it suffers 
under a chronic disease, of which it can- 
not be cured: it hastens to dissolution. " 

The English reader will be surprised to 
find in the last two phases the outlines of 
the history of the present state of his own 
country, the struggle between conservatism 
and reform, written by an author who lived 
more than four centuries ago, in Africa, 
and hardly knew the name of England. 
Thus, his idea, " That ruling nations go 
through natural periods of life, like indivi- 
duals," is confirmed; and this is the indivi- 
dual life, or historical career, of nations, 
and the result and object of particular his- 

By comparing a great number of biogra- 
phies of such nations as succeeded each other 

l$J &jt $3 MS. Of 

Leyderi, No. 1350, i., fol. 66, verso. MS. 
of the British Museum, No. 9574, fol. 100, 


on the stage of history in the rule of the 
world, and in whom all the activity of man- 
kind was concentrated and represented as at 
present in Europe, it might, perhaps, be 
proved by facts, what philosophers presume, 
that there are even certain laws as to when 
and how different nations enter on the stage 
of history, and what part they are to per- 
form ; for although certain qualities are 
universal to all men, every nation has an 
innate national character which constitutes 
its individuality, and predestines it to a cer- 
tain career, just as a woman is destined to a 
different vocation from that of a man. 

This is by no means to be taken in a 
mystical sense, for nothing can, for instance, 
be more natural than that the sober and 
simple Arab, who used thousands of years 
ago to make inroads upon Persia, should 
be so successful as to plant the standard of 
the doctrine of the unity of God upon the 
graves of the Khosraws, at the period when 
the Parthian rulers had outlived their time, 
their minds being corrupted by the vices of 
the most luxurious court, by the most artificial 
religion, and the grossest superstition. The 


Arabs were the liberators of the subjects who 
suffered under an artificial, over-refined state 
of society, and under the arbitrary spoliations 
of an insatiable and innumerable nobility. In 
the same way, it is not less natural that the 
stage of history should, in its origin, have 
been in the south (in Asia), and that modern 
European civilization should have begun in 
the congenial climate of Italy and Spain, 
than it is, that those countries have their 
spring in advance of the more northern 

If the general road which nations have 
to go could be laid down and deduced from 
incontrovertible facts, the results would be 
more valuable than all other human know- 
ledge. They would give us an insight into 
the condition and object of mankind. " Be- 
hold the tales of the time," says an Arabic 
author, "and when thou knowest where 
we come from, see where we are going to." 
They would prove that the fate of nations 
does not depend upon chance or the arbi- 
trary actions of a few individuals. Men who 
are the actors in a great crisis are the pro- 
duct of time, and not time the product of 


their talents ; they will not succeed if they 
act against the spirit of the age. A history 
in this sense would also point out the 
sphere of individual activity in public life ; 
for if the periods of the life of nations are 
laid down in certain laws, and if the attempts 
of the privileged cannot change their course, 
it would follow that the grievances of man- 
kind arise from those desperate attempts of 
men in power to interfere w T ith the course of 
things, and to retard their natural progress, 
or from those men of a destructive character 
who, misled by enthusiasm, mean to accele- 
rate events beyond their natural course; and 
if we could determine, by such a view of his- 
tory, for a given period (for instance for the 
present moment), what is the unalterable 
course which a nation will pursue, the men who 
do their best to smooth the way could be po- 
sitively distinguished from those who, under 
pretence of principle, attempt to interfere 
with the course of the nation, turning it to 
their own advantage ; and history would 
show the final triumph of the former over 
the latter, pointing out, that talent counter- 
balances wealth, that reason stands against 


prejudice, energy against the power of public 
opinion and inherited privileges, persuasion 
and faith against hypocrisy and ecclesiastical 
tyranny, enthusiasm against fashion, and 
freedom against the power of interest and 
servility, and that the struggle between these 
different tendencies is decided by eternal 
laws, by Providence, in favour of moral 
power. Individual stands against individual, 
and he is victorious who goes with the spirit 
of the times : he may be a prince or a beggar. 
European history, however, will lead us 
neither to a correct idea of the individual 
life of nations, nor of their mutual succession 
on the stage of history, without a knowledge 
of the East. There is not one nation in 
European history whom we can follow from 
the moment it entered upon the stage of ac- 
tion down to its fall. The period of existence 
of modern nations is not yet elapsed. The 
origin of the Greeks and Romans is fabulous; 
and the documents which we possess respect- 
ing them do not reach higher up than the 
time of their power. There are only one or 
two great revolutions related in European 
history, in which the rule over the world 


passed from one race to another under the 
rise of new ideas, which exemplify the suc- 
cession of nations. The few accounts of 
Greek authors, of the ancient dynasties of 
Babylon and other countries of the East, 
derive their value only if they are illustrated 
by the history of later parallel facts from 
more modern Eastern history, of which we 
possess exact and numerous accounts in 
Arabic authors. Lest it should be denied 
that the history of the Greeks is very imper- 
fect, and that their ideas and institutions are 
secondary, and mere fragments of a more 
ancient nation, it will be necessary to enter 
into some details before it can be shown 
that the study of the East furnishes us with 
materials both for ascertaining the natural 
periods of the individual life of a nation, and 
the succession of nations on the stage of 

The Greeks had escaped from the tyranny 
of a priest caste which kept their northern 
and southern neighbours in ignorance, mo- 
nopolizing knowledge. Freedom inspired 
them with love for their native country and 
fame ; and patriotism brought them to the 


highest perfection that mankind has yet 
attained. Worship of arts was their religion, 
sublime poetry their code of laws, refined 
taste their moral guide, and freedom their 
tie of union. But although their originality 
of conception cannot be disputed, the mate- 
rial of their science, as well as of their arts, 
is not their own : they derived it either from 
imperfect recollections of their former home, 
or imported it from the East, and gave to it 
a more popular form. Creuzer has lately 
collected some passages of Greek authors 
in proof of this assertion. Facts are a 
stronger proof than testimony ; and as scat- 
tered fragments of a vessel, for instance, are 
posterior to the whole, and the germ anterior 
to the plant, so we may rest satisfied that a 
country in which we find all ideas coherent, 
understood and derived from one source, 
although less developed, is anterior to ano- 
ther in which we find them sacredly preserved, 
but not understood, and numerous beyond 
measure . In order to show that this is the 
relation of the East and Greece, it will be 
necessary to anticipate a theory of the nine 
spheres of the heaven, which may be consi- 


dered as the creed of the esoteric in Babylon, 
and in many other Eastern countries, and 
the basis of the religious notions of the 
Greeks, although they never understood 

The origin of existence is the great pro- 
blem of all philosophy ; for the Lord of life 
and death is the God whom the mortal feels 
bound to worship. It is certainly the most 
natural idea, that all life should be derived 
from an ultimate male and female principle. 
The male principle was the fifth and divine 
element, the ether*, of which the stars are 
only the concentrations ; the female principle 
was the earth, which rests quiet and passive 
in the centre of the circumvolving ether, 
according to the ideas of the ancients. Hence 
Aristotlef says, " The principle of motion, 
which gives the first impulse to generation, 

* On the ether see the note to page 179 infra) and the Fih- 
rist apud Hottinger, Historia Orientalis, edit. alt. p. 283. 

f De Generations Animalium, lib. L, cap. 2. The Chinese 
have the same idea, but apply it particularly to their emperor as 
the representative of the creation, (see the note to page 326, 
infra). Respecting the change which this idea underwent among 
the Semites. See the note to page 58, infra. 


is called male (and father), and the (passive) 
principle which yields the material, is called 
mother . . . Hence the earth is considered 
as female, and the mother (of all that exists), 
and the heaven (ether) as the male, and the 
father." If motion is the characteristical 
quality of Divinity, the planetary sphere 
which is most remote from the earth has the 
greatest claim to divinity, for its revolutions 
are the most rapid. Saturn will, therefore, 
be the highest and oldest god; he is the 
Sator. Opposite him stands his wife and 
sister the Earth, which is eternal and un- 
created like him ; and from them proceed 
all other beings, Festus seems, therefore, 
to be correct in deriving the name of this 
planet a satu. He was, however, dethroned 
as soon as this theory was further developed, 
as the reader will soon perceive. 

As soon as these two poles were once 
defined as the male and female principle, the 
poets in their imagination, and philosophers 
in their abstraction, knew no bounds in 
commenting upon them. The principle of 
motion, or the male pole, was conceived to 
be active, possessed of the supreme intellect; 


the female pole passive, but feeling, mild, 
and affectionate, whilst the male principle 
was thought to be harsh and selfish. About 
forty million miles above the female pole, 
and nearly as many under the male pole, 
in the middle between both, there must be 
perfect equilibrium. This was, therefore, 
the place of the sun, according to the ideas 
of the ancients, although he is in reality 
about nine times more distant from Saturn 
than from the earth. Ptolemy's agreeing 
with this wrong computation shows us 
whence he derived his information. The 
sun is, therefore, the son and mediator be- 
tween heaven and earth ; for, in him, the 
nature of both is combined; in him rests 
the affection of his parents, which, in a phy- 
sical sense, is warmth, and, in mysticism, 
the law of love ; and he is indeed the source 
of heat. In all ancient religions, the sun 
is the regenerator and redeemer, not the 
creator ; but this has been frequently mis- 
understood by the exoteric. 

Having now developed the trinity of the 
ancients, we may proceed to state whence 
the qualities attributed to the planets, which 



were the souls or individuals (J 2>\*\ of the 
ether, took their origin ; for the insignifi- 
cant peculiarities which may be observed in 
them, and some of which have been noticed 
in the notes to page 222, infra, cannot sa- 
tisfactorily account for the same attributes 
being given to the planets throughout all 
the world. 

In Oriental psychology, of which the 
reader will find farther details in another 
part of this work, all the qualities of men are 
said to be based either on sympathy sAil,- 
which is female and passive, or on antipathy 
and selfishness s^UxM, which is male and 
active : they are both neither good nor bad 
in themselves. These two fundamental qua- 
lities are manifested either with warmth and 
violence *\xj|, or with system, and tempered 
by justice XMX*H, or with coolness and re- 
flexion &\. The female qualities, based on 
sympathy, must be predominant under the 
sun, according to what has been said, and 
the male qualities, founded on antipathy, 
above this luminary. Now, as the sun is at 
the same time the source of warmth in a 
mystical as well as physical sense, we may 
form the following scale : 


Antipathy with coolness = the ill-natured SATURN. 

Antipathy tempered = the royal* JUPITER. 

Antipathy with warmth = the pugnacious MARS. 

The SUN. 

Sympathy with warmth = the enamoured VENUS. 

Sympathy tempered = the meek MERCURY. 

Sympathy with cool reflection = the tender MOON. 

The Arabic astrologers allude to this 
theory, for they had been the initiated before 
Mohammed; and when they found it more 
expedient to serve as companions to the 
khalifs, professing the Islam, than as priests 
in their temples, they gave to their doctrines 
a different shape. This theory is the soul of 
all ancient religions, and pervades their phi- 
losophical sciences and those of the Arabs. 

The testimony of authors, in proof that 
this has been the theory of the initiated 
in the East, and the farther development 
of the changes which new discoveries pro- 
duced in it, and of the political revolutions 
which were occasioned by such changes, 
will be explained in another volume of this 

* It must be observed that the sovereign is considered in the 
East as the moderator c. \\ ^Jl, and as prohibiting for the sake of 
his own selfishness ; for he is the head of the soldier caste XLxH , 
so that Jupiter stands in his right place. 



work. Our purpose here is to show, that 
the Greek history of mythology consists 
of misunderstood fragments, of a more 
ancient system ; and, therefore, that Greek 
history has, without the knowledge of the 
East, no beginning, and does not lead to 
those results of the study of history which 
gives it an infinite importance. 

The Greeks, uninitiated in the myste- 
ries of the priest class, and superior to the 
lower classes, continued to attribute to the 
planets these characters, without knowing 
why. They personified, therefore, the idols,* 
and invented fables, in explanation of the 
worship, being ignorant of the reasons. 
From these fables grew up their poetry; 
from the personifications their fine arts ; and 
this, as we have said, was the object of their 
life. But even in their fables they remained 
faithful to eastern notions, which tradition 
had preserved, contenting themselves with 
giving to them a more pleasing form. 

In the same way, every theory of the 
natural philosophy of the Greeks had been 

* See note to page 218, infra. 


previously known in the East. If Aristotle, 
in whom all the knowledge of antiquity 
on this head is concentrated, who sub- 
jected to the laws of reasoning what the 
uninitiated believed on authority, and who 
profaned the mysteries of the initiated as 
far as he had a knowledge of them, quotes 
mostly Greek authors, in speaking of sub- 
jects connected with natural philosophy, 
and alludes but seldom to the wisdom of 
the Chaldeans and Egyptians, it must be 
borne in mind, that most of their opinions 
had been imported into Greece long before 
the Stagirite, and had thus become Greek, 
or they had been inherited from the first 
Greek settlers, and thus always been in the 
nation; and that he has followed the dia- 
lectic system of didactics, in which every- 
thing is founded on reason, authority being 
named only of well-known opinions which 
are rejected, and form the subject of pole- 
mics, in order to explain and exemplify 
those which are defended as laws of reason, 
not of authority, which is, therefore, not 

The doctrine of the ether, of the five 


elements, and other central theories of Aris- 
totle's natural philosophy, are found in Ta- 
tary, China*, Persia, Egypt, and all other 
nations of the East. Nearly half of the 
names of medicines in Dioscorides and 
Galen may be derived from the Persian, 
Arabic, and other Oriental languages, and 
the use of those exported from India must 
naturally have first been known in their 
native country before they were exported. 

When Alexander had opened the East, 
not only Greek science but even Greek arts 
took a more decided Eastern character. 
Their poetry became more romantic; their 
sculpture less grotesque ; in former times 
their gods had been represented as men, and 
now they received the character of genii ; 
their schools of astronomy and medicine 
partook more and more of Eastern ideas, as 
they proceeded, and they proceeded as they 
were guided by these -new materials. Pto- 
lemy adopts even the chronology of the 
Babylonians. And the temperaments of 

* See Visdelou, apud D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient. Suplem. 
and the note to page 179, infra. 


Galen are as ancient as the world; they 
are connected with star worship*, and 
pervade the whole of Galen's or rather 
Eastern ideas on anatomy, physiology, and 
pathology f; even in materia medica the 
same idea is followed, and every medicine 
has its crasis (or temperament). 

The Greeks had the merit of bringing 
the materials which they collected in the 
East (I doubt whether from books) into a 
system, to compare them with experience, 
and to found them upon reason; whereas, 
they had existed as faith or mystery amongst 
Eastern nations. When the East was re- 
vived by the Arabs, the works of the Greeks 
were so very welcome, because the Eastern 
nations found in them their own ideas sys- 
tematically arranged. 

These few hints may be sufficient to show 
that the ancient history of Europe is incohe- 
rent and incomplete in itself. Even many 

* Compare page 206, infra. 

f In the literary history of the Arabs, down to el-Mas'udi,some 
curious eastern theories from Ibn Jauzi, of which the translator 
possesses a beautiful manuscript, which is probably the only one 
in Europe, will be given, to confirm what is asserted here. 


forms of Greek grammar cannot be explained 
without the assistance of the Sanscrit and 
Zend languages. The Roman history is still 
more in the dark. The fables with which it 
is headed by Roman historians are a confes- 
sion that their institutions want an historical 
explanation ; but that they did not find any 
either in their annals or in their popular 
traditions. There is, therefore, no nation 
in Europe, nor has there ever been any, of 
which we have a complete account, from the 
moment when it entered upon the stage of 
history to the end of its career, and from 
the progress and fall of which we could 
draw a picture of the life of nations : and 
it can still less be expected that the history 
of Europe should give us an idea of the 
succession of nations on the stage of history. 
The periods of life are much slower in the 

The East, on the contrary, is rich in 
experience : the periods of life rapidly suc- 
ceed each other, and are decided in their 
character; the revolutions, so violent, that 
they cannot remain unobserved ; one empire 
was founded upon the ruins of another ; 


dynasties rose and faded with the rapidity and 
splendor of meteors. Towns, like Bagdad, 
el-Kufah, el-Kahirah, were built like camps ; 
and on the Oxus, for instance, we see the 
Tatars, Persians, Greeks, Parthians, Arabs, 
and Uzbeks, as rulers, within the compara- 
tively short period of three thousand years. 
On account of these frequent, rapid and de- 
cided changes, the idea of the mutual rela- 
tion and succession of nations was, at least 
with reference to Iran, known to the ancient 
Persians, and forms one of the theories of 
the Zend-Avesta; and a perfectly correct 
division of the then known human races in 
the Semitic, Negroes (Hamites), and Tatars, 
including the Caucasian race (Japhetites), is 
even found in Genesis. We cannot better 
illustrate and confirm what has been said 
above, than by following up the ideas of 
the Zend-Avesta. Such an inquiry enters 
the more into the plan of this preface as it 
will enable the reader to form a correct 
judgment respecting the place which the 
history of the Arabs occupies, with reference 
to other nations. 

First, we must have a clear notion of 


Iran, or rather Khunnerets, as connected 
with irrigation. "If the water/' says our 
author*, who gives us some precious notices 
on this subject, "retires four hundred cubits 
from its original place, this place will be 
waste." He exemplifies his statement by 
the different state in which el-Hirah was in 
his time, and that in which it had been a 
few centuries previously. The country in 
which Niniveh was situated is now a desert, 
and the gardens of the khalifs are covered 
with sand. As the sun produces the most 
luxuriant vegetation, if his rays fall on wa- 
tered ground (the female element), so are 
they destructive if they meet no humidity. 
It is for this reason that the sun is represented 
in these two opposite characters in Siwa. 
There is, therefore, no cultivation of the 
ground possible without irrigation. To keep 
up the irrigation is nothing less than to con- 
trol enormous rivers, to dig new ones, and to 
drain countries ; it is a much more gigantic 
work than all the railroads of Europe. 
Hence, an almost infinite number of hands 

* Page 254, infra. 


must be employed for this purpose ; and 
this, in the infancy of society, can only be 
done by a powerful government which rules 
extensive countries, and, as a great govern- 
ment can never be free by a despot. This 
is borne out by the system of gathering the 
taxes of these countries Abu Yusof says, 
in a letter to Hariin er-Rashid which must 
be considered as an official document, 
66 Such land as was waste and is now cul- 
tivated and irrigated by the water of the 
heaven (rain), or from wells or brooks, or 
large rivers, which are nobody's property, 
(like the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Oxus, or 
Saihun) pays only the Tithes ; but if the land 
is watered by the canals which were dug by 
the ancient Persians, as the Nahr el-Melik, 
or Nahr Yezdejerd, the Kheraj is to be paid 
for it, although it may be cultivated by a 
Moslim." As these regulations have been 
copied from the Persians *, it is evident that 

* Whenever the Arabs conquered a town or province of 
Persia, they called the Dihkans, asked them what taxes had been 
paid under the Khosraws, and confirmed generally the ancient 
regulations. En-Nowa'iri (MS. of Leyden N. 2 D.) gives us, in 
the History of the Sasanians, an account of their regulations of 


the land tax was levied for the irrigation, 
since those lands which did not require arti- 
ficial irrigation were exempt. 

This formed the character of the popu- 
lation of such countries (deltas), amongst 
which Babylonia (Khunnerets) at present 
claims our attention. As the cultivation of 
the soil was dependent upon a powerful 
monarch, the very existence of the culti- 
vators was connected with despotism. No 
wonder, therefore, if servility is so deeply 
impressed on the character of all nations 
who live in deltas. The king is the god of 
fertility, who, by directing his attention to 
irrigation, may double the number of inha- 
bitants in less than twelve years, as they 
perish by thousands if it is neglected. It 
has been asserted, that the climate forms 
the character of a nation, and Oriental 

the land tax, which agrees literally with what Abu Yusof con- 
siders as law under the 'Abbaside khalifs. And as the Sasanians 
had been the restorers of the ancient state of things, to what 
they were before Alexander, we may trace the same institution to 
the ancientPersians. 

Lands, under artificial irrigations, are called cU, which 
has been rendered in this translation by estates. 


despotism has, for this reason, become pro- 
verbial. History shows, however, that now 
monks celebrate their processions in the 
streets through which the triumphant Ro- 
man citizens marched, and that the slavish 
Babylonian lives between the Bedouin the 
freest and happiest man on earth and the 
independent Kurd. The national charac- 
ter depends upon institutions and education. 
A rich country will soon produce men of 
talent and cunning, who earn their living by 
teaching or deceiving; and they are the 
priests, who will form a caste as soon as a 
man rises amongst them who unites their 
doctrines into one system, which, in order 
to be adopted by the nation, must of 
course be in harmony with their institutions, 
and will therefore be kept sacred as long as 
those institutions last. Thus, we have the 
three fundamental classes of society of the 
population of deltas, fat and slavish cul- 
tivators, cunning priests, and a luxurious 
court and soldiery ; or, applying it to Baby- 
lon, the Nabateans, Magi, and the Daulat 
X!_5*xM (dynasty). The first of these three 
classes are fixed to the soil ; the third is 


constantly changing, passing through the 
phases and revolutions which Ibn Khaldun 
describes in the passage quoted above ; and 
the priest caste is intermediate between 
both. The priests were the masters of the 
king and kingdom, as long as the state was 
founded upon their theories ; and they 
formed an amusing society of savans round 
the courts of the Khalifs when their doc- 
trines no longer found faith. 

When such a monarchy (daulat*) is in the 
height of its activity, it will extend its grasp 
after conquests, as it will be the aim of 
conquerors when it is in decay. The nearest 
object to excite the avarice of Babylonia are 
the fertile banks of the Oxus, as a Bac- 
trian monarch can find no worthier object 
of his ambition than Babylonia. These two 
countries were, therefore, united under one 
ruler at all periods when Western Asia was 
in a flourishing state, and they form Iran, 
in its greatest extent, the stage of history 
of Western Asia, and the object of our 
present observations. 

* The primary meaning of the root of Daulat is, the vicissi- 
tudes of fortune. 


South-west of Iran extend the deserts of 
Arabia, which are bounded on the south by a 
fertile mountainous country. This may be 
considered as the native soil of the Semitic 
race. History has recorded several success- 
ful Arabic invaders who have subdued Iran. 
Scripture names Nimrod ; from the third 
volume of el-Mas'udi we shall learn the 
names of Sheddad Ben 'Ad and many 
others; and in Persian traditions Zohak is 
mentioned as a Semitic conqueror, previous 
to the Mohammedan conquests. In the 
same manner it is reported by Herodotus, 
by Mongolish traditions and Persian poets, 
that the Tatars, who have their original seats 
in the steppes north-east of Iran, conquered 
this country in ancient times, previous to 
the Seljuks, Jingiz-Khan, and Tai'mur. 

These two nations stand like the two 
magnetic poles, opposite each other, with 
reference to Iran, in their national character 
as well as in their geographical position. 
Both were originally nomades : and the main 
body of the nation, continuing wandering 
habits, remained at all times in the primitive 
condition of man. But the Tatars are pas- 


turing soldiers, whilst the Arabs are warlike 
shepherds. The Tatars are used to blind 
obedience and discipline. The basis of all 
their social institutions is hereditary aristo- 
cracy. A Tatar magnate has, amongst other 
privileges, that of committing nine crimes. 
To be a slave is the pride of a Tatar ; and 
they have acted as such at all periods, at 
Eastern courts. If they become masters, 
they dig their own graves by imbecility, 
idleness, and cruelty. An example of their 
passive obedience are the Cossacks. Jingiz- 
Khan may be considered as the repre- 
sentative of the national character of the 
Tatars. His strict discipline, order in the 
camp, and simple regulations, render him 
one of the greatest generals recorded in 
history, and the extent of his conquests, 
and the valorous opposition of some of 
his enemies, fill the reader of his life with 
astonishment ; but no man ever shed more 
blood, laid waste more countries, and 
committed greater cruelties, than Jingiz 
Khan. The captive enemies had to serve 
him as shields against their brothers, and 
were forced to fight against them before 


they were slaughtered. When he took a 
town (Balkh, for instance), the lives of the 
inhabitants were spared until their temples 
were profaned, their wives and daughters 
ravished, and their houses burnt ; and when 
he had thus tortured their feelings, men and 
women were promiscuously put to the sword. 
The Tatars were called the nation of Mars 
by the Iranians. 

The Bedouin, who is the prototype of 
the Semitic race, on the contrary, is per- 
fectly free and independent *. He is capable 

* Harith Ben Keldah described the character of the Arabs 
before Khosraw Anusharwan, in the following terms: "Their 
minds are liberal, their hearts cheerful ; their language is expres- 
sive, their tongues are eloquent, their pedigrees pure and genuine, 
their ancestors noble ; the words flow from their mouths like 
arrows from the bow, but milder than the breezes of spring, and 
sweeter than honey; (literally, the water of a certain spring of 
Paradise ;) they feed the hungry in the time of need; they fight the 
strong in war; they do not permit that their high feelings should be 
hurt, that their neighbour should be injured, that their wives or 
daughters should be profaned, or, that the noble should be hum- 


of the noblest enthusiasm, but he has less 
imagination than any other nation, hence 
his poetry is lyric* ; the long- winding epos 
and drama are unknown to him ; his reason- 

Ibn Abi Osaibiah, MS. of the Brit. Museum, No. 7340, fol. 
44 verso. The variants are from a MS. of the Royal Library 
at Paris. 

* Nothing can better illustrate the peculiar character of 
Arabic poetry than the verses of the Koran, given in the follow- 
ing page. (Sura, 91, translation of Sale.) God swears: 

" By the sun and its rising brightness ; by the moon, when 
she followeth him ; by the day, when it showeth its splendour ; 
by the night, when it covereth him with darkness; by the heaven 
and Him who built it ; by the earth and Him who spread it forth; 
by the soul and Him who completely formed it, and inspired into 
the same wickedness and piety ; now is he who has purified the 
same happy." 

Heaven and earth are too narrow for the spirit of Mohammed, 
whilst the hero of Homer swears by so trifling an object as a 
stick, which he paints in several verses: 

" Yes, by this sceptre, which will no longer shoot either leaves 
or rind, for it once left its stem on the mountains, nor will it ever 
blossom again ; the sharp knife has pruned around both the leaves 
and bark. Now this sceptre is intrusted into the hands of the 
judging sons of Greece, Jove's delegates, from whom all wise 
laws emanate, thus I utter a great and solemn oath to you." 

As the rhyme of the Arabic original is as characteristic for 
sublime, and romantic poetry as the grave Hexameter for the 
apos, the original is here added: 


ing is clear and logical ; and thus the 
Bedouins were the founders of the spirit of 
the middle ages. The Arab is, therefore, 
not the tool of dreams and hopes ; his object 
is to enjoy the moment, and to be to be 
good, to be wise, to be free, to be happy ; 
whilst the endeavour of other nations is to 
have, and to be possessed to have goods, 
to be possessed of knowledge, to have 
power, to have the means of rendering them- 
selves happy and thus they are possessed, 

U j, Ul&b ttl JJJJ j 

Nai /ia ToSc (ncrjirTpov, TO KCV ovirorf <^uXXa KOL oovf 

firireidfj TrpStra TO/JLTJV ei/ opo-<rt 
dvaOrjXrja-fi' ire pi yap pa ^aX/cot 

<cai <p\oioV vvv avre p,iv vies ' 
Ej/ 7ra\dp,r)s (popeovcri diKa(rrr6\oi, otre 
Upos Albs elpvarai' 6 Se rot peyas f(TO"erat opKos. 

Iliad, L, 234-239, 


and fettered in their own golden chains. 
The Arab is as anxious to obtain wealth as 
other men, because he is active ; but it is 
against his nature to store up wealth. If he 
wishes to have great means, it is in order to 
entertain his friends, to be more liberal and 
hospitable than others, and to give riches 
away as fast as he obtains them. These 
habits of prodigality became a law of reli- 
gion (the alms), and continued even to the 
time of the Khalifat, however adverse they 
were to civilized society and ruinous to the 
state. The Arab obeys no one ; he has 
no wants ; a few dates suffice for his meal. 
What he takes, he takes by force the 
native right of the stronger; but he gives 
out of charity. Thus he feels himself greater 
than the rest of mankind, and despises 
them. What can make a man a slave who 
has no wants ? His only master is honour 
and conviction : hence, a sound religion 
alone could unite the nation. His obe- 
dience to the Sheikh is that of a son to his 
father; it cannot be enforced; and the 
orders, or rather advice, of a Sheikh is the 
expression of the will of the tribe. The 
only social tie which guarantees the life of 


the inhabitants of the desert is the blood 
revenge founded on the love of relations. 
If a man is slain, the family of the deceased 
will not rest, if they should perish to the 
last man, before they have retaliated the 
death of their relation on the tribe of the 
murderer. Atrocities are therefore avoided 
out of love to one's own relations. 

As the character of the Semites and 
Tatars is opposed, so are their tongues; 
for language, like a faithful wife, follows the 
character of the mind, and gives birth to its 
children. The Tatar forms compound ex- 
pressions as he has received joint ideas ; for 
the different modifications of one notion and 
its relation appear to his shallow mind like 
several ideas ; thus he uses compound ex- 
pressions like "lordship," (i.e. the shape of 
a lord,) and, 1 have said, although he has 
only one idea to express. In Tatar languages, 
compounding words and heaping grammati- 
cal terminations and suffixed syllables is 
carried to such an extreme, that the words 
which express the objects are buried under 
them. The riches of the Semitic lan- 
guages, on the contrary, do not consist in 
compounding ideas which have no natural 


relation to each other, but in organizing the 
roots ; so the Arab would say teeth, and not 
many * tooth ; I saw^ and not I have seen. 
The Arabic language has no compound 
words, and hardly any grammatical termina- 
tions. Words are formed and grammatically 
construed by changing the vowels of the 
root; by internal organisation, and not by 
juxta-position. Such a language can only 
be spoken by a nation which expresses more 
the sentiments and ideas of its heart, and 
which gives, even in describing objects, the 
feeling which they produced in the mind, 
than a narration of the surrounding world. 
The Semitic languages are what the Germans 
would term subjective tongues, whilst the 
Tatar languages are objective. The reader 
may now easily guess that the Arab will 
apply the same root to quite different ob- 
jects, if they produced a similar impression 
on his mind ; thus the root jara, which has 
primarily the signification of to flow, means 
also, if pronounced with different vowels 

* The s, which forms the plural in most Hindo-Germanic 
languages, as well as the lar, which forms the plural in Tatar 
tongues, is to be considered as a corruption of some ancient 
word meaning many, or a number. 


and accents, a brave young man, a lively 
girl, a ship, and the sun. As the Bedouin 
calls the sun the Runner, if his attention is 
exclusively directed to its motion, in the 
same manner, he may call it the White 
(l>^A>J!), or the Luminary (j^jtH or ^V^O* if 
the impression of its colour or splendour is 
prevalent in his mind, and so with other 
notions. The reader will find, for the same 
reason, numerous hysteron-proterons in Ara- 
bic expression which have been preserved in 
this translation ; for, as the Arab expresses 
even facts as sentiments, he says^r^jf what 
makes the greatest impression upon him. 
Thus we read& first, that Zakariya was put 
to death 3 and then it is described how he 
was killed. 

As long as the government of Iran was 
in the vigour of life, these two nomadic 
nations assisted it against other powers. We 
find them in the account by Herodotus of 
the army of Xerxes; and under Khosraw 
Anusharwan fifty thousand Tatar troops 
came on the Persian frontier, demanding to 
be taken into his service: "For," said 
they, "we gain our living by the sword; 

* See page 122, infra. 


and, as our country cannot give us food, we 
must be thy enemies, if thou wilt not re- 
ceive us as friends, and provide for us and 
our families." It appears from el-Wakedi's 
genuine account of the Mohammedan con- 
quests, as quoted by early authors, that the 
inhabitants of Yemen were driven by a si- 
milar motive to join the banners of the 
Islam. The population was too dense, and so 
they came, uncalled for, to Medinah, and 
asked 'Omar to send them against some 
enemies of the faith. 

When the rulers of Iran had passed 
through the periods of life described by Ibn 
Khaldun, and sunk under their own weight, 
the Arabs and Tatars made predatory incur- 
sions upon the unprotected cultivators, as 
they did under the successors of Anushar- 
wan. For, dependent as nomades in 
some measure are upon civilized nations, 
they are always on the alert for making 
plunder. The Arabs and Tatars are like 
two reservoirs of water over Iran ; if a 
breach is opened, they will naturally come 
down upon Iran, and make the breach 
wider, to irrigate it if guided, and to inundate 
it if not controlled. Success fills them with 


self-confidence ; the prospect of rich booty 
attracts new invaders, and unites them. And 
what can resist them if they are united ? A 
tradition is related of Mohammed, that he 
expressed sanguine hopes of the rise of the 
Arabic power, on the occasion of a victory 
of a predatory corps of the Temimites over 
the Persians ; so that it is very likely, that 
his religious enthusiasm was heightened 
by the prospect of victory and political 
ascendancy; the more so as he exhorts the 
Koraishites, in one of the last Surahs of 
the Koran, to be united, for union would 
give to them wealth and power. 

The conquests of Iran by these nations 
appear to have been alternate. Thus, under 
'Omar, the Arabs poured over Iran, and 
pushed their conquests to other countries, 
until the surplus population* of Arabia was 
exhausted. When the storm had subsided, 
they passed as Daulat XJ^j of the country 
[that is to say, as the soldier caste and 
nobility, as the Normans were in England], 
through the periods of life described by Ibn 

* Ibn Khaldun, who defends this idea, gives an estimate of 
the number of conquering Arabic populations of that time. But 
it does not seem very correct. 


Khaldun*. In the mean time, the Tatar 
steppes were over populous and full of 
vigour, whilst the Semitic rulers were 
drowned in luxury. Thus it was their turn to 
inundate Iran, after the Arabs had possessed 
it four centuries f. 

We find on the banks of the Tigris a 
pure Semitic population ; and as Babylon 
was the seat of Semitic learning and civili- 
zation, so the name of Bokhara is derived 
from a Mongolish word meaning, according 
to Abulghazi-Khan, "wisdom," because it 
was the centre of Tatar civilization:]:; and 
the main population on the banks of the 
Oxus seem at all times to have been Tatars. 
From whence came the Persians, and other 
Hindo-Germanic nations, who are of a race 
distinct from the Tatars and Semites, and to 
whom no delta is left in western Asia ? It 
seems they are the product of the mixture 
of those two opposite nations, as their lan- 
guage combines the character of the tongues 
of both, having compositions and internal 
organization ; so that it must be posterior 

* Page xv., supra. 

f The Seljuks came in 432 A.H. 

% Page 46 of the Tatar edition. 


to the Tatar and Semitic languages, for a 
more perfect development is naturally pos- 
terior to a more simple structure. Although 
I could not defend this theory of the origin 
of the Hindo-Germanic nations, so much is 
certain, that they are the nations of civiliza- 
tion, and that civilization will no more rise 
without the intercourse of opposite nations, 
than one sex alone can give birth to a child. 
These alternate conquests of the Arabs and 
Tatars must be considered as having given 
birth to civilization. They illustrate, there- 
fore, the succession and mutual relation of 
nations in history better than anything else. 

Our author*, Hamza of Ispahan, and 
the Zend-Avesta mention four other nations, 
the Semites, Tatars, and Iranians included 
which answer to the seven Kishwars or 
climates f , and which surround the passive 
inhabitants of Iran, like six stamina the 
pistillum, invading and reviving it in their 

South of Iran live the Hindus. A suc- 
cessful inroad of some Hindu conqueror is 

* In his Tauluh ; and after him Haji Khalfa, in his Bibliog. 

f Compare page 1 98, infra. 


recorded in the eighteenth chapter of this 
work ; and they were, even at the time of 
Anushirwan, so strong, that he expresses 
his fears of them in his last speech. As the 
Germans, fortheirhighintellectual character, 
their tendency to mysticism, their political 
passiveness and insignificance, bear a resem- 
blance to the character of the slavish culti- 
vators of Iran, so India may be compared in 
its geographical position and character with 
Italy. The Italians, like the Hindus, are 
buried under the ruins of their former gran- 
deur, and vegetate, in unmanly occupation, 
in the plundered temples of their Benares, 
on the Tiber. The French bear a resem- 
blance to the Arabs ; both have shown 
themselves equally capable of fighting for 
principles, and of being united by enthu- 
siasm, and not by the fear of a master. The 
Russians are the Tatars of Europe, and the 
main body of the subjects of the Autocrat 
are of Tatar origin. South-east of Iran 
lie Thibet and China, which have been 
compared with the Turks by Hager in a 
learned article in the Fundgrubens des 
Orients. Egypt is situated in the West, 
from whence the Persians have experienced 


several invasions. Tyrus and the empire of 
Croesus, whose attack upon the Persian 
empire failed, were north-west of Iran, and 
may be called the Great Britain* of the 
ancient world. Subsequently, the Byzan- 
tine empire succeeded, and was at constant 
war with the rulers on the Tigris both the 
Khosraws and Khalifs. The struggles of 
these six nations, but particularly of those 
of the Arabs and Tatars, their mutual 
relation, and their power over Iran, offer a 
wide field for studying the succession of 
nations in the stage of history ; whereas the 
contests of India, China, Egypt, and Asia 
Minor, against Iran, and among themselves, 
are less important ; for here doulat fights 
against doulat. Their conflicts do not give 
us a view of the connexion of the first prin- 
ciples from which states grow up, but only 
of the opposition of the interest of states 
and monarchs. 

Thus far as to the relative position of 
nations to each other, and their succession 
on the stage of history. We may nowpro- 

* This comparison of the nations of Asia with those of Europe 
could be carried much futher into detail ; for similar circumstances 
have similar effects, and similar processes of life produce, in physi- 
ology, similarly organized formations. 


ceed to show, that the history of the power 
of the Arabs furnishes us with better mate - 
rials for studying the individual life of nations 
than that of any European country. Their 
history is complete, and we have trustworthy 
accounts from the moment when they 
entered upon the stage of action, to the time 
when they went back into their deserts 

Their own poetry and traditions, as well 
as foreign authors, show us the Arabs before 
Mohammed exactly in the same condition as 
they are now. They have no state, but sim- 
ply families ; and they make, therefore, no 
progress, nor are they subject to decay as a 
nation. Their endeavour is, as we have said, 
not to possess, but to be : existence ends 
with the life of the individual, whilst his 
possession remains. The Bedouin history is 
the genealogy only of those to whom they 
owe their existence ; they cannot point to 
changes in state, nor to progress in arts and 
literature, nor to any beneficial influence in 
society which their fathers have made, for 
all these things are connected with posses- 
sion ; and revolutions in states are effected 
because rights and property are transferred 


from one class to another by the change of 
ideas. The ideas of nomades can make no 
progress, for the natural feelings of man are 
at all times the same ; and knowledge is a 
possession which changes with new discove- 
ries, and is useless, if not applied to life and 
and property. When the Persians and 
Byzantines were enervated by luxury, and 
drowned in the forms of civilization, the 
spirit of which was gone, the constant 
inroads of the Arabs were more successful, 
and a too dense population had made them 
more reflective ; for necessity is the mother 
of invention. Prophets arose in all parts of 
Arabia ; and the Mohammedan doctrine of 
the unity of God was crowned with success 
six centuries after the introduction of the 
Christian religion, and about three after 
Arius had first declared himself against the 

The Koraishite tribe stood first, as the 
head of the Arabs, and they thought it 
safer for their freedom to have the Oma'i- 
yides as their Khalifs than the Alites, who 
raised their claims by divine grace. The 
Oma'iyides, who were merely Emirs, went 
through the five phases of life, but in 


them the first two were particularly de- 
veloped. Hejjaj Ben Yusof drowned the 
spirit of freedom in el-Kufah and el-Basrah 
in their own blood. The baptism of mo- 
narchy the mild and fatherly form of go- 
vernment cost the lives of twenty-one thou- 
sand men. Their death did not give so 
much alarm; for they did not fall in the 
open field, but under the hand of the exe- 
cutioner, in prison, and the servile part of 
the population was well fed. The victims 
who fell in the open field were innumerable. 
Hejjaj was the precursor of the ' Abbasides, 
although he was their enemy. This new 
dynasty went through the five phases. They 
were 'Alites and Kings (no longer Emirs), 
supported, in spite of the Kora'ishites and 
their allies, by the Nizar tribes, who lived 
near the Tigris, and who were more used 
to a master by divine right, and by the 
Khorasanians ; for the first want which they 
felt after they had recovered from the shock 
of the Arabic conquest, was that of having 
a monarch, to counteract the rapacity of the 
governors, and to promote irrigation. The 
'Abbasides represent particularly the third 
and fourth phases. At the beginning of the 


fourth century, the 'Abbaside power was at 
an end; physical force and money* now 
alone gave right to power, and every gover- 
nor made himself independent in his pro- 
vince. Each of these moluk et-Tawa'if went 
through the above periods of life ; but they 
represented particularly the last phase that 
of reform and dissolution. Till now the 
power of the kings was owing to the Arabic 
conquests, although some were Tatars ; 
whereas the sovereignty of the Seljukians, 
Jingiz-Khanians, and Ta'imurians, rested on 
the success of the Tatar arms. The Arabs, 
by degrees, turned back into the deserts, 
or were humbled to the state of cultivators. 
Their original character vanished, and they 
became like the Nabatheansf,who had been 
deposited there by the Bedouins thousands 
of years ago, and so they remain at present. 
Thus the periods of life are distinctly 
marked in Arabic history, and nothing can 
exceed the fidelity of their historians. They 
believe till they are persuaded of the contrary, 

* Thus the Ghaznewides and Khowarezmshahians owed their 
power entirely to the treasures of India. 

j- The Nabatheans were looked on with such contempt by 
the Bedouins, that their name had become a nickname, at the 
time of the author of the " Nabathean Agriculture." 


and adhere closely even to the terms of the 
source whence they derive their information, 
naming the whole series of persons through 
whom they have received traditions. Orien- 
talists should study the lives and characters of 
the traditionists before they enter into his- 
tory, for this alone can enable them to form an 
estimate of the critical value of the accounts. 
El-Mas'udi gives us only one instance of 
such a way of treating history, in the first 
volume*; but many in the last. An Arabic 
historian will relate a fact without changing 
it, although it may be against his views. 
An instance is found in our author, where 
he relates the ridiculous ideas of el-Jahit 
respecting the unicornf . How much more 
valuable such simplicity is, in history, than 
modern criticism, may be shown in an ex- 
ample. Goethe, the German poet, speaks, 
in his Westwstlichen Diwan, on the march 
of the Israelites from Egypt to Syria, and 
means to prove that they would not have 
been longer in the desert than two years ; 
the reasons which he alleges are too ridi- 
culous to be recounted here. Ibn Khaldun, 
adhering to the text of Scripture, thinks 

* Page 57, infra. f Page 392, infra. 


that the Israelites, debased by the slavery 
which they had endured in Egypt, were 
unable to oppose the Philistines, until the 
old generation had died off, and a new one 
grown up in the hardy life of the desert. 

It has been our endeavour to show, that 
the fruits of the study of history ought to 
be, to obtain a view of the individual life of 
nations; and to ascertain, by connecting 
these particular histories, the laws of the 
succession of nations in the rule of the 
world. European history, it has been as- 
serted, does not lead to these results ; for 
modern nations have not yet arrived at the 
end of their career; and the Greeks and Ro- 
mans, (as it has been shown at some length, 
for fear of the prevailing Helenomania 
among the learned of Europe,) borrowed 
their institutions and the material of their 
science and arts from the East : hence the 
study of the East alone can lead us to the 
above-mentioned results. We attempted 
to illustrate the succession of nations by a 
few hints bearing on this subject as far as 
Iran is concerned ; for this is the stage of 
the history related by our author; and, 
finally, we meant to intimate, that the his- 


tory of the power of the Arabs is the only 
complete biography of a nation which can 
serve as the standard in judging others. 
Now this would be the place to show how 
far our author contributes towards these two 
objects. It is, however, much better for the 
reader to peruse The Meadows of Gold, and 
judge for himself. It may suffice to say, 
that he treats, besides history, on almost 
all the branches of Arabic science, poetry, 
and common life. It seemed, therefore, 
well, occasionally, to supply, from other 
authors, what is wanting, to give to the 
reader a perfect insight into the life of the 
Arabs at the time of their power ; to show 
whence el-Mas'udi derived his historical 
information; to assist the reader in the 
criticism of facts ; and to throw some light 
on the time and manner in which the Arabs 
cultivated various sciences and arts. The 
first will be done in additional notes, or 
little memoirs, which were first intended to 
be added at the end of each volume ; but 
for want of time they must be postponed to 
the end of the last volume of each of the 
two sections of which the whole work con- 
sists, and the latter will be done in a sepa- 


rate volume, which will form the last part 
of this work, and contain the literary his- 
tory of the Arabs, down to the time of el- 
Mas'udi, together with our author's own 
life* and literary connections. I have 
already collected for this purpose notices 
on the lives and works of several thousand 
authors, partly from their own writings, and 
partly from extracts and notices found in later 
authors, where the original works are lost. 

I have seen, and partly perused, nearly 
twenty copies of the whole or part of The 
Meadows of Gold, preserved in public or 
private collections, at Paris, Leyden, Oxford, 

* The reader may find an excellent Memoire on the life and 
writings of el-Mas'udi, written by M. Quatremere de Quincy, in 
the Journal Asiatique, (Ille serie, tome vii., No. 37, Janvier, 
1839, p. 5 to 31,) with which he may compare D'Herbelot, article 
Massoudi; Abulfeda, Ann. Mosl. vol. ii., adnot. 208, p. 118, adn. 
hist.; Deguignes, not. et extr., vol. i.; Silvestre de Sacy, ibid., tome 
viii., p. 132; idem, Chrestom. Arabe; Langles, Voyage en Egypte 
et Nubie de Norden, tome iii., p. 292, note 1; Hamaker, Spec. 
Catalogs pp. 46, 48 ; d'Ohson, Des Peuples du Caucase, pref. 
iii., viii.; Fraehn, Ibn Fozlan; Charmoy, Sur les Slaves, in 
the Memoirs of the Academy of St. Petersburgh, t. vii., Nov. 
1832 and 5 July 1833; Nicolls, catal. Bibl Bodleyana-, Gilde- 
meister, de Indis, Bonn, 1836. Mr. Gildemeister has translated 
into Latin, and published the whole of the seventh chapter of 
el-Mas'udi. I have to regret that I could not take advantage of 
his excellent work, having been in the country when my translation 
of that chapter went through the press. The difference of the 
MSS. will account for the difference of the translation of some 


Cambridge, and London. Including the ex- 
tracts found in other authors, the number of 
copies of which I possess some knowledge 
may be calculated to be above fifty. They 
all agree in certain faults ; the variants are 
material and innumerable. It seems that the 
autograph was written in a bad hand : per- 
haps it was the bad state of the MSS. of the 
first edition of The Meadows of Gold which 
induced the author to publish a second 
edition, of which he speaks in the Tanbih ; 
but as this edition is nowhere to be found, 
criticism on the work is rendered difficult, if 
not impossible. The reader will do better to 
consider what has been done in this trans- 
lation, than what remains to be done. 

The translation of this volume has been 
made from a manuscript of Ley den (No. 
537, a), which ends with the thirty-second 
chapter. It is very ancient, made by a 
man of great learning, and therefore very 
correct. Sometimes, however, when he 
found a corrupt passage, he gave a wrong 
sense to it in his corrections. But it is, at 
all events, the best copy in existence. On 
the margin one sometimes finds valuable 
^ariants, written by a later hand. I am 


indebted for the perusal of this copy to the 
kindness of Professor Weijers, D.D., and 
the liberal institutions of the library of the 
University of Leyden : hence it has resulted 
that nowhere in Europe has so much been 
done for Oriental literature as in Holland ; 
and yet not one MS. of the rich collection 
of that university has been lost or damaged. 
How many useful works would be saved 
from the worms, and how much credit 
would it throw on the literary character of 
the University of Oxford, if they would 
follow this example! Before I sent the 
translation to press, I compared it with 
several other copies : as, 

A manuscript of my esteemed friend, M. 
de Gayangos, who, although he is enriching 
Oriental historiography with his own labours, 
throws open his valuable collection of Orien- 
tal manuscripts to his friends with as much 
liberality as if he had collected them solely 
for their use. This copy is modern and 
carelessly written, but complete. 

A manuscript of the Asiatic Society of 
Paris, which contains only the first chapters, 
and those not complete. 

The manuscript of Leyden marked No. 


282, A, which contains the whole of the first 
part, that is to say, the first sixty-nine chap- 
ters. It is better than most other copies of 
el-Mas'udi, however numerous its faults are. 

A manuscript of Cambridge, which had 
been imperfect ; but Mr. Burckhardt, its for- 
mer owner, took care to have it completed. 
Besides, I had several extracts from the MSS. 
of the Royal Library at Paris, and others. 

Lord Munster had the kindness to go 
over the whole translation, to correct faults 
against the English idiom. But as it is im- 
possible to reconcile the Arabic style with 
the genius of the English language, without 
working over sentence after sentence afresh, 
the mistakes which may still be found in 
this translation in English diction, must not 
be ascribed to his Lordship, whereas the 
translator has to avow, that he had, in many 
difficult expressions of the original, recourse 
to his Lordship, and derived a great deal of 
information from him for the notes, and a 
lucid understanding of the text. In many 
instances, aliteral translation has been prefer- 
red to an idiomatical English expression, for 
reasons which the reader will easily discover. 

Brighton, April, 1841. 


IN the name of God, the Merciful, the Clement ! 
Praise be to God, to him is due all praise and 
glory! Blessed be Mohammed, the highest 
of the Prophets, and his pure family. 

The Object of this Work. 

El-Mas'udi says: We have described, in the in- 
troduction to our work, called Aklibdr ez-zemdn 1 
(on the history of time), the figure of the earth, its 
towns, wonders, and seas, its heights and depths, 
mountains and rivers, the produce of the mines; 
the various waters, marshes, and the islands of the 
sea and of lakes. We have also given descrip- 
tions and historical sketches of large edifices and 
lofty temples, an account of the beginning and last 
origin of things, and notices of inhabited districts, 
and of such tracts as had been land and became 
sea, or which had been sea and became land ; 
together with the causes of those changes, both 
proceeding from sidereal and natural influences. 
We proceeded then, in that work, to divide the 


climates according to the stars which preside over 
them, and the lines on the globe, and the extent 
of the districts. We also entered into details on 
the discussions on history, and on the different 
opinions of its beginning, and on the priority of 
the Hindus and other pagans. We have men- 
tioned the accounts of sacred and other books, and 
the traditions of the Rabbis 2 . After this intro- 
duction 5; we have related in that work the history 
of ancient kings, former nations, and distinguished 
men, and of tribes of past times, according to their 
different origin, classes, and religion. We have 
given an account of all their wise institutions, 
the sayings of philosophers, and of the history of 
their kings and emperors (Csesars 3 ) who have passed 
on the wings of time. In another chapter we have 
followed up the history of the prophets, holy men 
and devotees, until God completed his bounty by 
sending MOHAMMED his prophet. We continued 
our history in relating his birth, youth, and pro- 
phetic mission, his flight, his military expeditions, 
both those commanded by himself, and those com- 
manded by his leaders 4 , down to his death. 

Thus we have followed up the history of the 
Khalifs and of their empire, which grew up attended 
with constant disputes and wars with the Talebites 

*M plural of 


who descended from Fdtimah 5 , down to the time 
when we write this book, which is during the reign 
of el-Mottaki Lilian, in the year 332, A. H. 

After the Akhbar ez-zeman, we wrote our book 
the Kitdb el-ausat', which is also a historical work, 
chronologically arranged from the creation down to 
the time when we concluded our great work, and 
the Kitab el-ausat which follows it. Subse- 
quently we thought it useful to reduce into a 
smaller compass what is said in detail in the larger 
work, and to shorten what we have related in 
the Kitab el-ausat, so that we may give the essence 
of the contents of those two works in a less 
voluminous book, in which we shall mention, 
besides, different sciences which are not noticed 
in those two works. We have to excuse ourselves, 
if it should be found too short, and to apologize, 
as our mind got disturbed and our strength reduced 
by the privations of travelling, and by crossing 
seas and deserts. The object of these journeys 
has been to satisfy our thirst for knowledge, and to 
learn the peculiarities of the various nations and 
parts of the world, by witnessing them, and the 
state of foreign countries, by seeing them ; in this 
way we travelled to INDIA 7 , Ez-ZiNj 8 , ES- 

UiH ^AAxJlkJl. LUM^I V UT The middling work. 
7 A. & B. Jsi^Ji; C. Js^JI. 8 go^JU 

9 A. c^u^ll; B. cJuaM; C. jJuflJl; C. adds f j 
and China." B 2 


EZ-ZANIJ*. We have also traversed the East 
and the West. Sometimes we were in the ex- 
tremity of KHORASAN, other times in the centre of 
ARMENIA 11 and ADHERBUAN IS! , ER-RiN 13 and EL- 
BAILKAX U , then again in EL-'!RAK and in ESH-SHAM 
(Syria). We went from one quarter of the earth to 
the other as the sun makes his revolutions. As 
some poet says: " We rambled through the dif- 
ferent parts of the country,, sometimes we were in 
the extreme east and other times in the west, like 
the sun, the ardour of the mind which remains 
unimpaired, is unsatisfied until it reaches the region 
(the other world,) which cannot be approached by 

Then we had intercourse with kings of different 

10 A. & c. ^Jj; B. 

13 A. & B. ^yi; C. 

14 A. & B. ^ 

* Arabic Geographers seem not to have been very well 
acquainted with this name from the various ways of spelling it. 
Jaubert's translation of Edrisi (vol. I. page 59, et seq.) alone 
presents us with four varieties; er-Rdnij, ez-Zdlij, ez-Zdnij, and 
er-Rabij. The MSS. of Mas'udi add to this list er-Rdbih, ^\A\ 
and ez-Zdbih. The reading adopted by most authors is er-Ranij 
g\j\\ I preferred " ez-Zanij" on the authority of a most ancient 
and carefully written MS. of the British Museum, (N. 7496, 
add. MSS.) which seems to be an extract from Beladori's Kitdb 
el-bolddn and the autograph of the abbreviator. 


usages and politics, and by comparing them we 
have come to the result, that illustrious actions 
have faded in this world, and its luminaries are 
extinguished. There is a great deal of wealth but 
little intellect. You will find the self-sufficient 
and ignorant, illiterate and defective, contented 
with opinions, and blind to what is near them. 
Subsequently, this sort of knowledge did not appear 
to us a worthy task,, nor did we consider it worth our 
while to devote ourselves to these pursuits, so we 
wrote rather our works on the different opinions 
and various beliefs, as the book on the " Exposition 
of the Principles of the Religion 15 /' and the " Tracts 
on the Principles of the Religion 16 ," the work on 
" The Secret of Life 17 ," and another on the " Argu- 
ments of the Principles of Dogmatics (philoso- 
phically) arranged/' 

The last-mentioned book contains the principles 
of jurisdiction and the rules of passing decisions : 
as defence against argumentation, and deciding on 
one's own authority; rejecting opinion and grace; 
the knowledge of what is abrogated (in law), and 
what is put instead of it, and of how far and in 
what points there is only one opinion ; the distinc- 
tion between particular and general, between positive 




and negative commands, and between disapproved 
and permitted, then the traditions which are generally 
acknowledged as true, and those originally reported 
only by one man, the example of the prophet, and 
the juristical decisions founded thereon. We 
added our own opinions on the subject, both those 
which are controversial, and those which are in 
accordance with others 18 . 

" Reflections on the Imamship, and statement of 
the opinions of those who maintain the rights of 
the Imam to be hereditary, and of those who 
make him elective, together with the passages (of 
the Koran, &c.,) which both parties bring forward 
in proof of their opinions 19 ," and "The Book 

18 As every word of this sentence is a technical expression, I 
add the original. \^,\ Lo ft\\ 1^1 w *M 

*** ^ or an explanation of these terms I 
refer the reader to the additional notes at the end of this volume. 


of Sincerity (the impartial book) on the Imam- 
ship 20 ." 

We have, besides, inserted occasional remarks on 
these subjects in our works on various sciences, 
empirical and mystical, evident and occult, passed 
or still existing. 

We have called attention to those subjects 
which the vigilant observe, and upon which the 
intelligent reflect, and to what they mention of the 
splendour which enlightens the world and is diffused 
over its barrenness, and to the results of researches 
in the ruins, which ever have been famous and 
glorious in their origin, and which may lead to 
further explanations. We entered into the art 
of government, as the government of cities, and 
its natural laws, and the division of the parts of 
these laws. 

We entered into speculations on the first origin 
and the composition of the world and the heavenly 
bodies, and of what is tangible and not tangible, 
and what is dense, and what is the reverse. 

We have been prevailed upon to write these 
books on history, and the explanation of the events 
of the world, by the unanimous example of the wise 
men and philosophers who have done their best, 
that there may be kept up in the world the recollec- 


tion of what there is praiseworthy and digested 
in science. We found that authors have observed 
two ways in writing hooks, the one to explain the 
matters in full length, the other to shorten them ; 
and, again, the one elucidates whilst the other 
abridges. But we found that the accounts are in- 
creasing in number with the progress of time. The 
learned stands frequently higher than the intelligent 
and clever. But each of them has a part assigned 
to his faculties. Every climate has some wonders 
which the inhabitants do not understand, and no 
man who has zeal for science can rest satisfied and 
content, with what natives may report of their coun- 
tries ; but he can trust to a man who has spent his 
life in travelling, and passed his days in researches, 
and who has minutely explored the mines (of 
knowledge), and carefully collected all that can 

Men have written books on history at all times, 
some are of more, some of less, value. Every one 
has exerted himself according to his powers, and 
has deposited therein the stores of his wit and 
talent, as 

1 Wahb Ben Monabbih <Ux* ^>\ c*^. 

2 Abu Mikhnaf * Lut Ben Yahya el-'Ameri #\ 

\ f*&* 

* The most copies of Mas'udi bear Mohnifand. this is the 
reading adopted by Kosegarten in his edition of Tabari. The 


3 Mohammed Ben Ishak 

4 El-Wakedi 

5 Ibn el-Kelbi 

6 Abu 'Obaidah Ma'mer Ben el-Mothanni 

7 Ibn 'Ayyash* jiU* ^1. 

8 El-Haithem Ibn 'Adi et-Tayf 

9 Esh-Sharki Ibn el-Ketami 

10 Hemmad er-Rawiyah * 

11 El-Asma'i { juo^ 

12 Sahl Ben Harun 

13 Ibn el-Mokaffa' 

14 El-Yezidi <s 

15 El-'Otbi el-Omawiy 

16 Abu Zeid Sa'id Ben Aus el-Ansari 

reading which I have adopted rests on the authority of the Kamus, 
(edit. Calcutt. p. 1160) and the Fihrist (874. anc. fond. MS. 
Arab. Royal Library at Paris.) 

* One copy bears J^J^JJ (j*lxxJJ *jj The addition of the 
patronymic " el-Hamadani," in this wrong reading makes it pro- 
bable that it is the same person mentioned in Tiedemann's ibn 
Khallikan under N. 364. 

t Haji Khalfa (N. 2140) makes el-Hayi" of el-Tay " but this 
is wrong 


17 En-Nadhr Ben Shomail 

18 'Obaid-ullah Ben 'Ayeshah X^Lc ^^ 
1 9 Abu' Obaid el-Kasim Ben Sallam * I 

20 'All Ben Mohammed el-Medaini 

21 Demad Ben Rafi^ Ben Selmah 

22 Mohammed Ben Sallam el-Jomhi 
^^ f iU. 

23 Abu 'Othman 'Amr Ben Bahr el-Jahith 

&*^ >sr ^ JJ+& ^Zs. ^\. 

24 AbuZeid'Omar Ben Shabbehen-Nomairi Joj >J 

25 El-Azraki el-Ansari 

26 Abu Saib el-Makhzumi 

27 'All Ben Mohammed Ben Sole'j'man en-Naufeli 

28 Ez-Zobair Ben Bekkar J6* ^ j*>^- 

29 El-Injili 

30 Er-Riyashi 

31 Ibn 'Abid <k>U or 

* Other readings are X 

- ^j *u* * ^jU The reading which I have 

adopted in the text rests on the authority of Ibn Khallikan. 
f The readings differ \ or Jt or ^\ or JI. 


32 'Arnrnar Ibn Wathimah * X 

33 Abu Hassan ez-Ziyadi ( 

34 'Isa Ibn Lahi'ah el-Misri (&ux$J) ***jJ 

35 'Abd-ur-Rahman Ben 'Abd-ullah Ben Abdul 
Hokm el-Misri 

36 Abu Keisan el-Hadi 

37 Mohammed Ben Musa el-Khowarezmi 

38 Abu Ja'fer Mohammed Ben Abi-s-Sari 

39 Mohammed Ben el-Haithem Ben Shebamah 
(Shebabah) el-Khorasani ^^^ fj^tt ^> J^sx 
^Ujil (S^UJK) SUUA the author of the Book 
ed-daulat (%j*M the dynasty.) 

40 Ishak Ibn Ibrahim el-Mausili, the author of the 
Song-book, and of other works *J^j1 .jj vJu 

* There is a great difference in the readings of this name. 
The MS. in M. Schultz's collection in the Royal Library at 
Paris gives the reading which I have adopted in the text. The 
MS. of Leyden bears cf^oU XAJJ ^\ ^Xc and another copy 
has c5?jAaU ^jl*c I believe it is the same man whom Haji 
Khalfa (N. 2120) calls 'Omdrah Ben Wathimah. 


41 El-Khalil Ibn el-Haithem el-Harthemi JJlil 
^j*$r$\ fAAgH ^jJ the author of the book on 
Stratagems and Manoeuvres in War ^A\ ^UT 

Vj^i J NJ&|j aa d f other works. 

42 Mohammed Ben Yezid el-Mobarred el-Azdi 

43 Mohammed Ben Soleiman el-Minkari el- 

44 Mohammed Ben Zakariya el-Ghallabi^ el-Basri 
(el-Misri) (^^0 cfj^ui^ 3-^x)^ ^0 (^j^*^^, 
the author oif the j^^i i^UT and other works. 

45 Ibn Abi-d-Dunya (er-Raini) the preceptor of 
el-Moktefi Billah (^0 USjJl ^^ ^j^^ 

46 Ahmed Ben Omar (Mohammed) el-Khoza'i, 
known under the name of el-Khakani of 
Antiochia o 

47 'Abdullah Ben Mohammed Ben Mahfiith el 

Beladi el-Ansari l^yL^v^ ^j *x^ ^.^ ^J^ iXxc 

^Uaj^\ (tf>^0 tf*xX>Ji the companion of 

Ibn Yezid 'Imarah Ben Zaid of Medina (Ibn 

* All the copies of Mas'udi bear &xJJ instead of 
I prefer the latter on the authority of the Fihrist. His work 
is called in some copies jl^^SH v^ an( ^ ^ n ^ e Fihrist 
2>f^.y\. Haji Khalfa contains none of these titles. 


Othman Ben Zaid of Medina) *,Ux Ju 

48 Mohammed Ben el-Barki Ben Khalid el-Waki 
el-Katib* -oKN ^\ *\!U. (^ ^xiJ Cj _^ <x+2X 
author of the ^U^M c_UT " Exposition." 

49 Ahmed Ben Mohammed Ben Khalid el-Barki, 
the son of the preceding 

50 Abii Sa'id es-Sokkari f ^.Cj^ *x/jt-j ^>\ 

51 Ahmed Ben Abi Tdher^lfc ^? ^.j J^! the 

* This name is found only in M. de Gayangoz's copy. It is 
evidently very incorrect. Comparing it with the next following 
name, which is also only met in Gayangoz's MS., I consider "el- 
Waki " as a corruption of "el-Barki ", which is to be left out the first 
time. The name runs therefore : Mohammed Ben Khalid el-Barki 
el-Kdtib. Haji Khalfa (N. 2405 edit. Fliigel) ascribes a work 
called "Exposition of the History of Bagdad" to Ahmed Ben 
Mohammed Ben Khalid el-Barki el Kdtib. This name agrees 
exactly with the name of the next following author. As in M. 
de Gayangoz's copy frequently a sentence is written twice, I 
almost think the father must abdicate as an author in favour of his 

f This author is mentioned only in a copy of the Royal 
Library at Paris, (collection of M. Schultz) and in M. de 
Gayangoz's MS. The later MS. adds, He is the author of the 
work i-^xl^ *^W^ "P ems of the Arabs (Bedouins^)" in the 
Fihrist and in Haji Khalfa (edit. Fliigel, N. 38.) This book bears 
the title UJJ C>UjSN " Popular Poems." 


author of the " History of Bagdad" j+\ v ^ 
Jjjob and other works. 

52 Ibn el-Wesha U^J ^\ 

53 'All Ben Mojahid X4>Ls=s.<> (JJ j ^ the author 
of the ''History of the O may y ides "^,U=U V UT 
(^.jju^oSM and other works. 

54 Mohammed Ben Saleh Ben el-Betah (en- 
Nettah*.) ( C U*N) ^U^l ^ ^\# ^ *+=s^ 
the author of the " History of the Abbaside 
Dynasty'^ X/^UxJ^ XJ 3 *xJ^ t_lxT and other works. 

55 Yusuf Ben Ibrahim ^&>jA (j_^ <-**-^. the 
author of the " History of Ibrahim Ben el- 
Mahdi " and other works. 

56 Mohammed Ben el-Hareth et-Taghlebi (eth- 
Tha'lebi) (c^xn) gteX\ cL^^ ^^ <x*^ 
the author of the " Manners of the Kings" v_A^ 
(XUQ t_-^U^ o^U.^ which he composed for el- 
Fath Ben Khakan ^UU ^ g&\ and of 
other works. 

57 'Obaid-ullah Ben 'Abdulla Ben Khordadbeh 

He is the best writer ; his style is an example 
which has been imitated by other authors. They 

* The reading el-Betah "is confirmed by the authority of the 
Fihrist (874 MS. Arabe ancien fonds of the Royal Library at 
Paris;) and en-Nettah" by Haji Khalfa (edit. Fliigel, N. 2151.) 


have followed his traces and copied from his works. 
Whoever wishes to convince himself of the truth 
of our assertion, may read his large work on history, 
gjUM & j^&\ u.UT. He compiled the materials 
for this work with great care ; arranged them in a 
new order, and comprised in it a vast deal of infor- 
mation. It contains the history of the Persians, 
and other nations, their kings, and the biographies 
of those kings. 

Another excellent book of his treats on the 
roads and kingdoms, fyc., Uyx 3 jOlit ^ JCJUJL! j. 
Whenever I was in want of information, I found it 
there, and whenever I consulted it, I had reason to 
praise it. 

58 History (of Mohammed ) from his birth to his 
death, and of the Khalifs and Kings after him, 
down to the Khalifat of el-Mo'tadhed Billah, 
with an account of all that happened or existed 
in their days, and their traditions, by Mohammed 
Ben 'AH el Hosaini el-'Alawi ed-Dinaweri t_UT 
^tfj* ^ SlJ>Jl J 

59 History of Ahmed Ben Yahya el-Belddori v^" 
cfji^xJ^ ^^ (J jj js,*^^ &j^ an ^ the work of 
the same author which has the following title, 


" The countries and their subjection to the 
Mohammedans, by treaty or force, after the 
Hijrah of the prophet, and all the conquests of 
Mohammed, and of the Khalifs after him, also 
the traditions illustrative of this subject;" <-A^ 

The author describes in this 
book,, all the countries east and west, south and 
north. We do not know of any better work 
on the conquest of the countries than this. 

60 The history of Ddwud Ben el-Jerrdh, A^J <->^ 
gJJCM <5* ^4>\ (.jj. This is the great reposi- 
tory of the history of the Persians, and of 
other nations. The author is the grandfather 
of the vizier 'All Ben 'Isa Ben Dawud Ben el- 

61-4 history containing the events, state, and times 
before the Islam and after, by Abu 'Abdullah 
Mohammed Ben el-Hasan Ben Siwdr, known 
under the name of Ibn Okht 'Isa Ben Ferklidn- 
shdh, ^k 

^.^j. His history goes 
down to the year 320. 

62 History of Abu 'Isa Ben el-Monajjim (the 
astrologer) principally based on the Pentateuch, 


It treats also on other prophets and kings. 
63 History of the Omayyides, their virtues, the 
qualities by which they distinguished themselves 
from other great families, and the new line 
of conduct which they adopted when in power ; 
by Abu ! 'Abd-ur-Rahmdn Khaled Ben Heshdm 
el-Omawiy ^AjljU 

64 T%e history of Abu Bishr ed-Dauldbi ^ 

65 And the excellent book of Abu Bekr Mo- 
hammed Ben Khalaf Ben Waki\ the Kadi, on 
history, with notices on other subjects ; 

66 Biography and History by Mohammed Ben 
Khaled el-Hdshemi 

67 History and Biography by Ishak Ben Sola'iman 
el-Hdshemi; j 

68 Biography of the Khalifs by Abu Bekr Mo- 
hammed Ben Zakariyd er-Rdzi, liXi^^x** JxT 

; the author of 


the " Kitab el-Mansuri"^^;uJJ V UT and other 
medical works. 

69 The works of 'Abdullah Ben Moslim Ben Ko- 
taibah ed-Dinaweri XAAA? (.+-> fiwo /.jj aM! *XAC 
tf^jJJ, which are numerous and extensive, 
as his Encyclopedia ( _ 5,1*^ t v^UT and other 

70 The history of Abu Ja'fer Mohammed Ben Jarir 
et-Tabari ^jvUl^j^ ^ tX^yLx^ ^\ jsjlj- 
No other book can be compared with this, 
which forms a supplement to all other works. 
He has collected different historical traditions 
and documents, so that his book contains a 
variety of information, which renders it very 
useful. And how could it be otherwise? the 
author having been the most learned Divine* 
of his age, and the most religious person of 
his time. He united the knowledge of the 

* " Divine," <Ui'J means a person well versed in law and 
divinity, i. e. 1. The Koran and its explanation. This compre- 
hends the sacred ancient history of the creation and prophets, 
the outline of which the reader finds in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 
6th chapters of this work. 2. The traditions which are inti- 
mately connected with the early history of the Mohammedans, 
for history derives all its information from traditions. 3. Some 
auxiliary sciences, such as logic, grammar, Arabic, archaeology* 
&c. Hence it was required to be a good Divine, in order to be 
a good historian. 


Divines of all the leading cities*, and was ac- 
quainted with all traditions and documents. 

* When the Mohammedans had conquered part of Persia, 'Omar 
founded on the frontier between the conquering and subjected 
countries (Arabia and Persia), two military cantonments, (el- 
Basrah and el-Kufah) to ensure the conquests. These two cities 
were called /.*-> v^^JJ sing* jj*a+$\ Hence j+j&+j means "to 
form such a cantonment." Similar cantonments were founded by 
the same Khalif, and for the same purpose, in Syria, Mesopotamia, 
and Egypt. Although they were in their origin little more than 
camps, they rose soon to importance, being the site of the govern- 
ment of the conquered countries, and the rich booty collected 
there from all quarters of the world, changed them into splendid 
cities. In these cantonments the veterans who had fought with Mo- 
hammed were stationed. When peace was restored, their minds 
were turned to religious speculations, and their imagination was 
filled with the recollections of the prophet ; the absence from the 
original spot may have contributed to exalt and embellish these 
recollections. They related the sayings and history of the prophet 
to their children, who were anxious to gather as many of these 
sacred traditions as they possibly could, and to compare the 
accounts of the same fact, as related by different persons. So in 
every one of those stations of the veterans, or " leading cities," 
to which Mekka and Medina may be reckoned, a corpus of tra- 
ditions was formed which was first orally taught, but soon committed 
to writing, studied and commented upon by the divines 

These cantonments may be compared, in an ecclesiastical point 
of view, witli the primitive Christian churches, (Jerusalem, Alex- 
andria Antiochia, &c.), with this difference, that they were at the 
same time the sites of learning, and that their chivalrous feelings 
were so strong, that the blood of more than a hundred thousand 

C 2 


71 Of the same description is the history of Abu 
'Abdullah Ibrahim Ben Mohammed Ben 'Orfah 
el-Wdsiti, the grammarian, known by his nick- 
name, Niftawaih 

His history is full of elegant extracts from the 
best works, and of useful matter. He was 
the best writer of his time. 

72 Mohammed Ben Yahya es-Suli ^$& ^j tX+2x 
JyH followed his example in his book called 
The papers on the history of the Abbasides and 
their poetries u Ju?&\ ^ UX^UrU ^J o^^J t->\tf 
^,U-2^ and in his work on the history of the 
Viziers of the Beni 'Abbas ^1^ ^A^t? ^JvS- 
He relates anecdotes which are not to be 
found in any other author, for he had the 
opportunity of witnessing them personally ; 
he was besides very learned and well- 
informed, and a good writer. 

73 Of the same kind is the work on the Viziers, 

men who fell in el-Kufah under the executioner of Hejjaj Ben 
Yusuf could not quench their thirst for independency. 

This is the original acceptation of the word VAO^O which was 
lost when the cities to which it had been applied, lost their import- 
ance and character. Modern writers use sometimes the plural 
,Uo*J in order to make a sentence more pompous, and in this case 
it means "provinces" in a vague acceptation of the word. 


by Abul- Hasan 'All Ben el-Hasan, who is 
known under the name of Ibn el-Mdshitah*, 

This work goes down to 
the end of the reign of er-Radhi Billah. 

74 Equal merit has Abul-Faraj Koddmah Ben 
Ja'fer el-Kdtib c-^j'KH yL*^ ^ 3UJA* ^^\ ^\. 
He was a good and elegant writer, who chose 
such words which expressed best the meaning, 
as one may see from his historical work, 
which has the title, flowers of the spring, ^-ktf 
t>j$\r*j but his best work is the book on the 
tribute, ^*\ <-ur. In these two works he 
justifies fully the praise which is given to him. 

75 Abul-Kdsim JcCfer Ben Mohammed Ben Ham- 
dan el-Mausili el-Fakih 

wrote his histo- 
rical work called el-Bdhir j&kjA\ ^\jS (the admi- 
rable) in opposition to the Kitab er-Raudhat 
'tejjti c^UT (the garden) of el-Mobarred 
76 Ibrahim Ben Mdhawaih el-Far esi ^> 

xy>Lo. He imitates a work of el- 

* Haji Khalfa (No. 242 edit. Fliigel) writes the name of 
this author Abul-Hosam 'AU Ben Mohammed el-Meshshdtah 
XlsUUJI but this is wrong. Compare the Tenbih (337 MSS. of 
St. Germain, fol. 195 vers.) 


Mobarred called "el-Kamil" _UKU V UT (the 
perfect book.) 

77 The work of Ibrahim Ben Musa el-Wdsiti on 
the history of the Viziers, &}* &> ^^ v^~ 
\j-j\ J^\ ^ is \s^\^\. He wrote this book 
in opposition to Mohammed Ben Ddwud Ben 
el-Jerrah's book on the same subject. 

78 The work of 'AH Ben el-Fath* el-Katib known 
under the name of el-Motawwak, on the history 
of several Viziers of el-Moktader, ^^ _AxT 

79 El-Misri's work named Flowers of the eyes 
and brightness of the heart, (jj>**M 

80 TAe history of 'Abdur-Rahim Ben Mohammed 
el-Warrak, generally called el-Jorjdni es-Sa'di-f, 

81 History of el-Mausil and other places, by Abu 

* Haji Khalfa (No. 242) is wrong in writing the name of 
this author 'Alt Ben Abil-Fatah. 

t Haji Khalfa (No. 2193) calls this author 'Aid er-Rah- 
mdn Ben 'Aid er-Rezzdh es-Sadi el-Jorjdnt. One of my 
copies bears Ben el- Warrdk 

I The name of this author in Haji Khalfa (No. 2320) is 
Zakariya el-Mausili. 


82 The chronicle of Ahmed Ben AU Ya'kub el- 
Misri* embracing the history of the Abbasides 
and other families, 

83 The history of the Khalifs, from the house of 
Abbas, and others, by 'Abdullah Ben el-Hosdin 
Ben Sa'd el-Kdtib, f ^U^i 

84 Mohammed Ben Abil-Azhar's J ^ 

work on history, and other subjects. 

* Haji Khalfa (No. 2151) writes this name Ahmed Ben 
Yakub el-Misri. 
f Haji Khalfa writes 'Abdullah Ben Hosa'in Ben Maad 

I Haji Khalfa calls this author Abul-Azhar Mohammed 
Ben Mozid) a grammarian, who died 325. This is wrong, as 
we see from es-Soyutl (lives of grammarians and lexicographers y 
an Arabic MS. of Dr. J. Lee). This author says, " Mohammed 
Ben Mozid Ben Mahmud Ben Mansur Abu Bekr el-Khoza'i, 
known under the name of"Ibn Abll-Azhar" the grammarian, is 
called by some writers Mohammed Ben Ahmed Ben Mozid.... He is 
the author of the work el-harj wal-marj, &c." With this account 
agrees the author of the Fihrist (Vol. I., No. 874, MS. Arab. 
anc. fonds., in the Royal Library at Paris, fol. 200 verso.), who 
gives to the author of the el-harj wal-marj the name of Ibn 
Abil-Azhar Abu Bekr Mohammed Ben Ahmed of Bushanj 


This book has the title of rebellion and revo- 
lutions) dLA<tey\ j j\ v^" 
85 Sendn Ibn Thdbet Ben Korrah el-Harrdni, 

Jt/il 2jS (jjJ u^olj (^jt\ j,U^, * has written a 
work, the contents of which are not in his 
line and profession ; it is in the form of an 
epistle to a friend of his, who holds office under 
Government; and contains dissertations on 
moral philosophy, and the division of the soul, 
into the intellectual soul (AJ&UM), animal soul 
(or function) (^UA*axM), and vegetative soul 

(or function) (x^W^O* ^ e a ^ so gi yes the 
leading ideas on the government of cities, 
from Plato's Republic, which is in two books. 
He speaks also on the duties of the Sovereign, 
and of the Viziers. Then he proceeds to 
history, which he believes to have from good 
authority, for he does not relate as an eye- 
witness, except the history of Mo'tadhed 
Billah, in whose court he lived. He gives an 
account of the days which he passed with hi in. 

* Haji Khalfa (No. 2191) makes a gross anachronism, in 
ascribing to Thabet Ben Korrah a history from the year 190 to 
363, whereas the supposed author died 288 A.H. He means 
probably the history of the grandson of Thabet Ben Korrah, 
whose name was Thdbet Ben Sendn and who is much praised as 
a historian, by Abul-Faraj (Hist. Dynast, p. 208., and also Ase- 
mani Bibl. Orientalis, Vol. II., p. 317.) He died 363 A.H. 


Then he goes back from one Khalif to 
another, but contrary to all history, and de- 
viating from the accounts of all other his- 
torians. And even if his history were better, 
and if he had not gone beyond what he had 
seen himself, he ought to be blamed for a 
work which is not in his profession, and for 
a labour which is out of his line. He ought 
to have written on those branches of science 
in which he is unique, as on the Science of 
Euclid (j^jvxXiM,, the linea secantes v^UkJuc, on 
the Almegest, and on Circles c>]^jsU; or he 
ought to have entered into an explanation of the 
systems of Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle, treat- 
ing on the system of the heavens* X>UJJ UA5M, 
on meteorological phenomena xj^XxH jl^t, or 
on natural temperaments. On causes, their 
connexion and conclusions ^yU^J- On proposi- 
tions cijUJoiU, and compound syllogisms U>^ 
djlxTj.*!!. On the distinction between natural 
and supernatural oU$lsn. Also on the science 
of the matter, dimensions, figures, and the 
mensuration of forms (stereometry), and other 
problems of philosophy. If he had written 
on these subjects, no blame could be cast upon 

* This is the Arabic title for Aristotle's work, De Ccelo, 
and the following one for his Meteorologica. 


him for his labour, for he would have produced 
a work which is consistent with his professional 
science. But the learned are defective in their 
abilities, and the wise have some weak points. 
Hence, 'Abdullah Ben el-Mokaffa' says: 
"Whosoever writes a book exposes himself: if 
it is good he will earn fame, and if it is bad he 
will reap shame." 

We mentioned only those chronicles, histories, 
biographies, and documents, the authors of which 
are known, and omitted the historical works of the 
persons who have written on the traditions, con- 
taining the names, lives, and classes, of men ; for 
this volume is too limited to contain all that. 
Besides, in our work entitled Kitdb Akkbdr ez-zemdn 
and Kitdb el-ausat, we have named the persons 
who have made themselves in any way remarkable, 
with their biographies, and anecdotes of their lives, 
and we have given an account of the persons of 
science, and their classes; beginning from the time 
of the companions of the prophet and the fol- 
lowers* after them, we have followed up the great 
men of every age, in chronological order, till the 
year 332, according to the difference of their 

* Those who lived at the time of Mohammed, and knew him, 
are called " companions," c-A^t and those who knew the compa- 
nions, but not the prophet himself, are called "followers," 


pursuits and opinions, whether they were divines of 
the leading cities, or other persons who espoused 
the cause of some opinion, sect, system, or contro- 

We have given to the present work the title, 
jjiyll ^yiljco ^ 4-*jfr<xM &?*> m order to excite a 
desire and curiosity after its contents, and to make 
the mind eager to become acquainted with history, 
the prominent and leading facts of which are com- 
prised in this book, whilst they are related in full 
detail in our former works on the same subject, and 
with the interesting accounts selected for these pages 
from our other writings. We have dedicated this 
book as a present to kings and men of learning, 
having treated in it on every subject which may be 
useful or curious to learn, and on any knowledge 
which arose in the lapse of time. 

We have pointed to the subjects of our former 
works, repeating here everything that a clever and 
well-informed man ought to know. There is no 
branch of science, nor any object of interest, of 
which we do not speak ; nor is there any important 
fact which we do not distinctly mention in this 
book. We have compressed it into the form of 
a summary, interspersed with various hints, and 
illustrated with occasional observations. 

Whosoever changes in any way its meaning, 
removes one of its foundations, corrupts the lustre 

28 EL-MAs'ui)i's MEADOWS OF GOLD, 

of its information, covers the splendour of one 
paragraph-, or makes any change or alteration, 
selection or extract; and whoever ascribes it to 
another author, may he feel the wrath of God! 
Quick may come the vengeance, and may the blows 
of misfortune fall upon him with such violence that 
he is unable to bear his fate in patience, and that he 
loses his intellect over it. May God make him an 
example to the reflecting, and may He take from him 
what he had given to him. May He who is the 
Creator of heaven and earth bereave him of the 
strength and other graces which he had bestowed 
upon him, to whatever sect or opinion he may 

We have put this intimidation at the beginning 
of this book, and at the end, that it may deter any 
one who might have an inclination, and be bad 
enough, to do such a thing. God will see him, and 
watch his doings. The space (of life) is short, and 
the distance (to the other world) is small, and to 
God we shall all return*. 

Here we subjoin a list of the chapters of this 
book, showing the contents of every one of them 

* This expression of reliance on God is borrowed from the 
Koran, and is constantly in the mouth of the Moslims if they see 
themselves wronged. 


A List of the Chapters contained in this Book. 

WE have explained in the preceding chapter the 
object of this work ; in this chapter we will give a 
list of the contents of the chapters, in the same 
systematical order which we have observed in the 
body of the book, to the end that the reader can 
easier refer to them. 

3. The first origin. The process of the creation, 
and the first generations from Adam to Ibrahim. 

4. The history of Ibrahim, and the prophets 
after him. The kings of the children of Israel. 

5. The reign of Rakhobo'am Ben Solaiman Ben 
Dawud and the Israelite kings after him. Concise 
account of the prophets. 

6. Those who lived in the Fatrah, that is to 
say, in the time between Christ and Mohammed. 

7. An abridged account of the Hindus, their 
opinions, the origin of their kings, and their lives, 
also their usages in holy service. 

8. On the globe, the seas, the beginning of 
rivers, the mountains, and seven climates, and the 
stars which preside over them, and other subjects. 

9. A concise account of seas that have changed 
their places, and of great rivers. 


10. Account of the Abyssinian sea, its extent, 
gulfs and straits. 

11. The different opinions on ebband flow, and 
all that has been said on this subject. 

12. The Greek (Mediterranean) sea, its length 
and breadth, and its beginning and end. 

13. The Sea of Nitus* and Manitus, and the 
strait of Constantinople. 

14. The sea of Bab el-Abwab and Jorjan (the 
Caspian Sea), and a view of the connexion of all the 

15. The Chinese Empire, its kings ; their lives, 
government, &c. 

16. A comprehensive view of the accounts of 
the seas, and their wonders, and of the nations who 
live in the islands of the sea, or on the coast, the 
succession of their kings, &c. 

17. On the Caucasus, and accounts of el-Lan 
(Alans), es-Serir, el-Khazar, and various races of 
Turks f, and el-Bulghar, also of Derbend and the 
nations and kings of those regions. 

.*J is a corruption of Q^Lju Pontus, which is so 
universally found in Arabic authors, that it seems to be sanctioned 
by use. 

t The word "Turk" throughout this work is not to be taken 
in the meaning it generally has in the English language. For the 
nation which we call "Turks" are named in the east "Othmanlis," 
whilst the name "Turk" has with good Arabic writers about the 


18. The Assyrian kings. 

1 9. The kings of Mausil and Ninive, who are 
the same as those called el-Aturyiin*, ^.j$f.j3W 

20 The kings of Babel of Nabatsean, and other 
origin. They are called the "Chaldseans." 

21. The first Persian kings; their lives, with 
historical sketches. 

22. The kings of the Satrapies, and the Ash- 
ghanians. These were between the first and second 
Persian dynasties. 

23. The origin of the Persians, and what the 
historians say on this subject. 

24. The Sassanian kings, who are the second 
series of Persian sovereigns, and collections from 
their history. 

25 The Greeks t> their history, and opinions 
on their history. 

same meaning as with us, " Tatars." I refer the reader for a more 
scientific explanation of this word to the 17th chapter and the 
additional notes to it. 

* He means probably the kings of "Aturia," which is the 
name of the country belonging to Niniveh, in Strabo, (edit. Basil. 
1549, page 669.) 

f The Greeks, before they were subjected by the Romans, are 
called by oriental writers " Yunaniyun, , . . ^.xj U^/J \ or lonians . 
The term is originally Syriac UJQ-i, for the Arabs derived their 
knowledge of the ancient Greeks originally from the Syrians, and 
these were, of course, best acquainted with those Greeks who 


26. The history of Alexander in India. 

27. The Greek kings, after Alexander. 

28. The Roman Empire, and what historians 
say on the origin of the Romans, the number of 
their kings, and their chronology. Also sketches 
from the lives of those kings. 

29. The Christian sovereigns of the Byzantines, 
we mean the emperors of Constantinople, with 
some notices of what has happened during their 

30. The emperors after the beginning of the 
Islam down to the emperor Romanus, who is now 
reigning in 332 A. H. 

31. Accounts of Egypt, and the Nile, wonders 
of Egypt, and its sovereigns. 

32. Alexandria, the edifices of this town, and 
the kings who resided there. 

33. The Sudan (Negroes), their origin and 
different races. 

34. The Slavonians, the countries where they 

lived nearest to them, who were the "lonians." After the 
conquest ^of the Romans, the eastern empire was called Rum 
p^JJ I translate ^/JU^AH by "Greeks," and +^\ for 
distinction's sake, by " Byzantines." Whosoever wishes for further 
explanation on this subject may consult Hamaker's note to the 
" Liber de expugnatione Memphidis et Alexandria ", Leyden 1 825, 
p. 60. 


live, their kings, and the divisions of the Slavonian 

35. The Franks and Galicians, XxJ&lJ their 
kings, sketches from their history and biography, 
and their wars with the inhabitants of Andalus, 
(Moors in Spain.) 

36. The Longobards, and their kings, together 
with an account of the country which they inhabit*. 

37. The 'Adites, and their kings; a view of 
their history, and the opinions respecting the length 
of the time which they flourished. 

38. The Themudites and their kings; Salih 
their prophet, and some sketches from their history. 

39. Mekka, an historical account of this city, 
and of the holy house, (the Ka'bah,) also of the 
supremacy which the Jorhomites, and other tribes, 
held there ; and what besides enters under this head. 

40. On the description of the earth, and the 
various countries. Love to the native soil. 

41 . The dispute on the reason why " el- Yemen," 

* M. De Guignes, (Notices et Extraits des MSS. de la 
Bibliotheque du Roi, Vol. i. p. 4.) and Hamaker, (Specimen 
Catal.) read the word Aj^TyJJ Nogorod. We have no doubt but 
that $jjS^&\ is a corruption of Jj.x&jJJ "el-Liingobard,'' 
although all MSS. agree in this corrupt reading. We are con- 
firmed in our opinion by Nowai'ri, (MS. of Leyden, Nro. 273, page 
50,) who spells it Jj^&^J " Alangobard." 



" el-Irak," 6^*n "esh-Sham," ^l&l and 
"el-Hejaz," jl^J have received these names. 

42. Yemen, the origin of the inhabitants of this 
country, and the various opinions thereon. 

43. Yemen, and the kings called ct Tobba's," 
and others, together with their lives, and the years 
which they reigned. 

44. The kings of el-Hfrah, who came from 
Yemen, and others, together with their history. 

45. Kings of Syria who came from Yemen, and 
others, together with their history. 

46. Wandering people of the Arabs, and of 
other nations ; the reasons why they inhabit the 
deserts, and the Kurds the mountains; their origin 
and history, and all that is connected with this 

47. The different beliefs and opinions of the 
Arabs, before the Islam; their dispersion. The 
history of the elephant, and the invasion of the 
Abyssinians, Abdul Motallib, &c. 

48. Opinions of the Arabs on the soul, intellect, 
and animal life. 

49. What the Arabs say on ghosts and witch- 
craft, and what other nations say on this and other 
subjects of the same nature. 

50. On ominous sounds, demons and the like, 
according to the opinions of the Arabs and others, 
both those who believe it and who deny it. 

51. The ideas of the Arabs on augury, divina- 


tion, physiognomies, and lucky or unlucky omens, 
taken from the circumstance whether game turns from 
the left to the right, or from the right to the left. 

52. Soothsaying, how it is done, and various 
accounts thereof; the distinction between a rational 
and irrational soul, and opinions on visions, dreams, 
and other subjects connected with them. 

53. The history of Seil el-'Arem in the country 
of Saba and Marib. The dispersion of the Azd, 
and their settling in other countries. 

54. The years and months of the Arabs com- 
pared with those of other nations, how far they 
agree, and how far they differ. 

55. The months of the Kopts and Syrians, the 
difference of their names. A view of chronology, 
and what is connected with these matters. 

56. The months of the Syrians; how they 
agree with the months of the Greeks; how many 
days in a year. 

57. Months of the Persians. 

58. The years and months of the Arabs, and 
the names of their days and nights. 

59. What the Arabs say on the nights of the 
lunar months, and what is connected with this 

60. The revolutions of the sun and moon*. 

* Mas'iidl states at the end of this index that the number of 
chapters is 132. All MS. copies fall short of this number, 

D 2 


6 1 . The influence on this world ascribed to the 
sun and moon, and the various opinions on this 

62. The quarters of the world, and what is 
peculiar to every part of them in the east and west, 
south and north, and other influence of the stars. 

63. Sacred edifices and lofty temples ; on the 
houses sacred to the worship of fire and idols. 
The idolatry of the Hindus, on the stars and other 
strange things in this world. 

64. Sacred houses of the Greeks, and their 

65. Sacred houses of the ancient Romans. 

66. The sacred houses of the Slavonians, toge- 
ther with their description. 

67. The high temple of the Sabeans of Harran, 
and of other Sabean sects. The various things 
preserved in these temples, and the like. 

68. Account of the houses of fire worship, 
their construction, and the account of the Magi 
respecting those houses, and their construction. 

omitting frequently the chapter heads. Taking the chapter heads 
of all the copies at my disposal, I brought the number of chapters 
to 131. De Guignes, who gives this list, although very incomplete, 
in the first volume of the Notices et Extraits des MSS., after the 
MSS. of Paris, mentions the above chapter head, which I the 
readier adopt to make complete the number of 132, as Mas'udi 
speaks also on the course of the sun and moon in the chapter 
inscribed in my copies "The influence on this World, &c." 


69. Conspectus of the chronology of the world, 
from the beginning down to the birth of Mo- 

70. The birth of Mohammed, his pedigree, and 
what enters besides under this head. 

71. The prophetic mission of Mohammed,, and 
his history till his flight. 

72. The flight of Mohammed, and the heads of 
his history, till his death. 

73. Account of his history, and circumstances 
connected with it, from his birth to his death. 

74. New dogmas which commenced with the 
prophet, and which had never existed before him. 

75. The Khalifat of Abu Bekr es-Sadik: his 
pedigree, and sketches from his life and history. 

76. The Khalifat of 'Omar Ben el-Khattab: his 
pedigree, and sketches from his life and history. 

77. Khalifat of 'Othman Ben el-'Affan. 

78. Khalifat of 'Ali Ben Abi Taleb: his pedi- 
gree, and sketches from his life and history: his 
brothers and sisters. 

79. Account of the battle of the camel, how it 
began, and what there happened. 

80. The occurrences between the Arabs of el- 
Trak, and esh-Sham (Syria), at Siffin. 

81. The two arbitrators, and the beginning of 
the arbitration. 

82. 'All's wars with the people of Nahrwan, 
who were called " esh-Shorrat," (SchismaticksJ ; 
and the result of this war. 


83. 'All's assassination. 

84. Sayings of 'Ali, examples of his abstemious- 
ness, and some anecdotes of this nature. 

85. The Khalifat of el-Hasan Ben 'All Ben Abi 

86. Reign of Mo'awiyah Ben Abi Sofyan. 

87. History of Mo'awiyah, his government, and 
anecdotes from his life. 

88. The companions of the Prophet, their 
praise. 'Ali and el-' Abbas. 

89. The reign of Yezid Ben Mo'awiyah Ben 
Abi Sofyan. 

90. El-Hosain, the son of 'Ali, is killed, and 
many of his family and followers share his fate. 

91. The names of the children of 'Ali Ben Abi 

92. Sketches from the life and history of Yezid; 
some extraordinary actions of his. His wars, &c. 

93. Reign of Mo'awiyah Ben Yezid, Merwan 
Ibn el-Hakam, el-Mokhtar Ben Abi 'Obaid and 
'Abdullah Ben ez-Zobair, and sketches from their 
lives and history, and some occurrences which 
happened at this period. 

94. Reign of 'Abdul-Melik Ben Merwan: 
sketches from his life and history. 

95. El-Hejjaj Ben Yusof ; his speech, and part 
of his history. 

96. Reign of el-Walid Ben 'Abdul-Melik: 
sketches from his history, and the history of el- 
Hejjaj during his reign. 


97. Reign of Soleiman Ben 'Abdul-Melik : 
sketches from his life and history. 

98. Khalifat of 'Amr Ben 'Abdul-' Aziz Ben 
Merwan Ben el-Hakam: sketches from his life 
and history. 

99. Reign of Yezid Ben 'Abdul-Melik: sketches 
from his life and history. 

100. Reign of Hesham Ben 'Abdul-Melik, and 
sketches from his life and history. 

101. Reign of el-Walid Ben Yezid Ben 'Abdul- 
Melik, and sketches from his life and history. 

102. Reigns of Yezid Ben el-Walid Ben 'Abdul- 
Melik, and Ibrahim Ben el-Walid Ben 'Abdul- 
Melik, and anecdotes from the history of their 

103. The party spirit between the descendants 
of Yemen, and the Nizarians. And the rebellion 
against the Omayyides which was the result. 

104. The reign of Merwan Ben Mohammed 
Ben Merwan Ben el-Hakam. 

105. The number of years which the Omay- 
yide dynasty has been in power. 

106. The 'Abbasside dynasty : further history of 
Merwan ; his murder, his wars, and life. 

107. The Khalifat of es-Seffah, his life and 
history, and the history of his time. 

108. The Khalifat of el-Mansur; his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

109. The Khalifat of el-Mehdi: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 


110. The Khalifat of el-Hadi : his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

111. The Khalifat of er-Rashid; his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

112. The Barmekides, their history, and their 
influence upon their time. 

113. The Khalifat of el-Amin: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

114. The Khalifat of el-Mamun: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

115. The Khalifat of el-Mo'tasem: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

116. The Khalifat of el-Wathik: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

1 1 7. The Khalifat of el-Motawakkel : his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

118. The Khalifat of el-Montaser; his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

119. The Khalifat of el-Mosta'in: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

120. The Khalifat of el-Mo'tazz: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

121. The Khalifat of el-Mohtadi: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

122. The Khalifat of el-Mo'tamed : his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

123. The Khalifat of el-Mo'tadhed : his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

124. The Khalifat of el-Moktafi: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 


125. The Khalifat of el-Moktader: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

126. The Khalifat of el-Kahir: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

127. The Khalifat of er-Radhi: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

128. The Khalifat of el-Mottaki: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

129. The Khalifat of el-Mostakfi: his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

130. The Khalifat of el-Moti': his life and 
history, and sketches from the history of his time. 

131. The second conspectus of the chronology, 
containing the period from the Hijrah, down to the 
present time, i. e., Jomadal-ewwel of the year 
336. Thi sis the date when I finished this book. 

132. Names of the leaders of the pilgrimage. 

El-Mas'udi says, these are all the chapters 
contained in this book. We shall give, in every 
chapter, the contents pointed to in the preceding 
list,, and besides, various other histories and accounts 
not mentioned in this list, but they form only sepa- 
rate paragraphs of the mentioned chapters. So we 
give in our chronicles of the Khalifs, and the length 
of their lives, in a separate paragraph their bio- 
graphy and history; and then we add another 
paragraph containing an account of the occurrences 
during their reigns, the history of the Viziers, and 
the sciences which were the object of their literary 


circles. We have put into a different shape what 
we have said in our former works on the same 

The number of chapters contained in this book 
is one hundred and thirty two. The first chapter 
contains the object of our work, and the second the 
list of chapters contained in it, and the last chapter 
contains the names of the leaders of the pilgrimage 
from the beginning of the Isldm down to 335, A.H. 


IN the name of the Merciful and Clement God ! 

On the beginning of all things, process of the 
creation, and the progress of generation. 

ABUL-HASAN (el-Mas'udi) says : the learned Mos- 
lims, of all sects, agree that God, the Almighty, 
created the universe without model, and from 
nothing. The first thing created, acccording to a 
tradition based on the authority of Ibn el-'Abbas 
and others, was water ; upon it was the throne of 
God, and when God intended to accomplish the 
work of creation, he produced smoke * from the 
water, which rose over it, and he called it *WlJ 
heaven. He made the water dry, and changed it 
into one earth, then he divided it into seven earths t. 
This was done in two days, on Sunday and Monday. 

* i. e. The exhalation of the waters, as he says soon after. 

f The Arabs received the theory of seven earths without 
knowing what they were. Some believe that there are six earths 
under the one which we inhabit; in the sixth is the throne of 
Iblisy whilst others divide the globe known to the Arabs into seven 
earths. (Kitab el-Bold&i, add. MS. of the Brit. Museum, 7496). 


He created the earth upon a fish CL>^* which is 
mentioned in the Koran, in the Surah, " Nun f " "by 
the reed (pen) and what they write, and by the 
FISH." This water again rests upon alarge smooth 
stone, and the stone upon the back of an angel, who 
stands upon a rockt, and this rock is supported by 
the wind. The rock is also mentioned in the 
Koran : in the words of Lokman to his son, "O 
my Son, if the weight of one mustard-seed pushes 
on the rock, or on the heavens, or on the earth, or 
wherever it may be, God is aware of it, for God is 
clear-sighted and omniscient." When the fish 
shakes, an earthquake is produced. God, however, 
placed firmly the mountains upon it, and the earth 
remains firm. To this alludes the passage of the 
Koran ^[, "He has thrown upon the earth mountains 
firmly rooted, lest it should move with you." He 
created the mountains, the nourishment of the inha- 
bitants of the earth, and the trees, in two days, on 
Tuesday and Wednesday. Therefore we read in 

* This fish is named >_ ^A._I Bahmut or Hamut, (Ibn Shohna, 
MS. of the Asiatic Society at Paris.) L ^ jj is hardly ever 
used but as the name of the pisces of the zodiac. This fable 
seems to have been originally an astronomical allegory. 

t Surah Lxviii, verse 48. 

% Ibn Shohna and others say this rock rests upon a bull (the 
sacred animal of the Hindus), which is called ^ISjxT Kayuthdn. 

Koran edit. Fliigel, Surah xxxi, verse 15. 

IT Surah xvi, verse 15. 


the Koran, "Say (O Mohammed) how can you 
disbelieve on him who has created the earth in two 
days? and how can they associate a companion 
with him who is the Lord of the worlds, and who 
has put firmly-rooted mountains, and spread his 
blessing in it. He provides equally for those who 
pray to him for it. 

Then God ascended to the heavens,, which were 
smoke. He said to the heavens and to the earth, 
"come whether you like or not; " they answered, 
"We come by good will." This smoke was the breath 
of the water. God made first one heaven, then he 
divided it into seven heavens. This was done in 
two days, on Thursday and on Friday. Friday was 
called the day of assembling (*xirt ^) for God 
has assembled (+^) (completed) on that day, 
the creation of the heavens and earth. Then he 
said I will reveal in every heaven what belongs to it, 
that is to say, he created what there is in it, as 
angels, seas and the mountains of el-Bord ^ jJt JU^. 
The heaven of the world is green, and consists of 
emerald ; the second heaven is white, and of silver ; 
the third heaven is red, and of ruby; the fourth 
heaven is white, and of pearls; the fifth heaven is 
(j+z\) of gold ; the sixth heaven is of a yellow gem, 
(Topaz) ; the seventh heaven is of light, and it is 
all covered with angels who stand on one foot, and 
praise God, because they are so near him. Their 
legs go through the seventh earth, and a space of 


five hundred years' journey below the seventh earth, 
and their heads are under the throne of God, which 
they do not reach. They say, THERE is NO GOD, 


so they say, from the moment of creation, to the 
hour of the judgment. 

Under the throne is a sea, from which comes the 
food for all living beings. God commands, and 
there flows, what he likes, from heaven to heaven, 
till it comes to the place called <c el-Abrem," *^t 
then God gives his command to the wind, and it 
carries it to the clouds, through which it passes as 
through a sieve. Under the heaven of the world is 
a sea filled with animals, which are kept together 
by the eternal decree, like the water of the seas of 
the earth. 

When God had completed the creation of the 
world, he peopled it with genii ^.szOJ before he created 
Adam. He made them of fire, among them was 
"Iblis" (jMAU God forbade them to shed the blood 
of animals,, nor should they show a rebellious spirit 
among themselves ; but they shed blood, and one 
became the enemy of the other. When Iblis saw 
that they would not forbear from these bad actions, 
he asked God that he might raise him to the heaven, 
and there he worshipped God with the angels, with 
the greatest devotion. God sent a corps of angels, 

* A verse of the Koran. 


under the command of Iblis, against the genii, and 
they drove them into the islands of the seas, and 
killed as many of them as God pleased. 

God placed Iblis as a guardian over the heaven 
of the world,, but his heart was filled with pride. 

When it was the will of God to create Adam, 
he said to the angels " I shall put a lieutenant on 
earth;" they answered,, "Who will be this lieu- 
tenant*?" God answered, " He will have children 
who will degenerate in earth, and envy and kill 
each other." They said, "O our Lord, thou placest 
a being there who will spread corruption, and shed 
blood, and we sing thy praise, and glorify thee !" 
He answered "I know what you do not know." 

Then he sent the angel Gabriel to the earth to 
fetch clay for him from the earth. But the earth 
said "I fly to God from thee*f, if thou darest take 
it!" and he returned and took none from it. God 
sent then Michael, and the earth said the same 
words to him as to Gabriel, and he took no clay 
from it. Then he sent the angel of death, and the 
earth took flight to God (said the same words), but 

* This story is literally taken from the second Surah of the 

f The expression " I fly to God from thee,'' ^JL aHb ^\ 
is borrowed from the Koran, and is of very frequent use amongst 
the Arabs, being equivalent to the commonest English imprecation 
implying " I refer to God, who will curse thee." 


he said "and I fly to God, if I return without 
having accomplished what I am to do." And he 
took black, red, and white earth; for this reason 
the sons of Adam are of different colours. The 
first man was called ADAM -M for he was taken 
from the surface (adim) *oM of the earth. Some 
have a different opinion. God commissioned the 
angel of death over death. 

When God had kneaded together the dust, he left 
it for forty years, till it had become tenacious clay ; 
then he left it other forty years, till it got foetid 
and altered. This is meant by the words of the 
Koran " modelled from foetid dirt." Then he gave 
to the clay the form of man, but left it without a 
soul; it made a jingling noise, like an earthenware 
vessel, so it remained a hundred and twenty, or, 
according to other authorities, forty years. This is 
meant, in the words of the Koran; " There passed 
a time over man when he was not worth notice." 
The angels passed on this body, and were afraid of 
it, more particularly Iblis. Once he passed it and 
struck with his foot against it ; there came from it 
a sound like the jingling noise of an earthenware 
vessel. To this allude the words of the Koran, 
" From the jingling noise like an earthenware 

vessel," but some give to the word 5LoJU (jingling 

sounds) a different interpretation. 

Iblis entered by its mouth, and came out by its 
back, and God said to him " do not go through 
what I have created." 


When God intended to breathe the soul into 
Adam, he ordered them to worship him: they did 
so, except Iblis. He refused, in his pride, to do it, 
and said ll O Lord, I am better than him; thou 
hast created me of fire, and him of clay : and fire 
is nobler than clay; further, thou hast made me 
the lieutenant in the heaven of the earth, and I am 
clad in feathers, ornamented with a scarf of light, 
and crowned with grace. I have worshipped thee in 
heaven and earth." God said to him, " Go forth 
from here, thou wretch, upon thee is my curse, till 
the day of judgment. '' He asked God for a fixed 
term to the day when they would be resuscitated, 
and he made him look forward to a definite time. 
So the name of Iblis (Devil) received the meaning 
which it has. 

There are different opinions as to the reason why 
God ordered the angels to worship Adam. Some 
persons believe he was to be considered by them as 
" Mihrab *," whilst the object of worship was God. 
The servants of God ought to have followed his 
orders, and obeyed him in this trial which he had 
chosen. There are yet other opinions. God 
breathed into Adam, and as soon as a part of the 

* The " Mihrab " -jU^S is that place in the mosque which 
looks towards the temple of Mekka, where the Mohammedans 
turn their faces to, when they say their prayers. 



body was pervaded by it, it began to feel*, and God 
said, the creation of man went on fastt. 

When his breath came into Adam, he sneezed, 
and God said to him "Pronounce the words, Praise 
be to God, and thy Lord will be merciful with thee, 
O Adam." 

El-Mas'udi says: what we have said on the 
creation, is the account of the revelation, and 
traditions, which have been handed down from 
ancient periods to a more recent age, and narratives 
of the passed which have been preserved. We have 
related these traditions as we have received them 
from oral accounts 1 , and as they are found in 

There are evident authorities that the world 

* I read y**.x\J although all copies bear y*Jls:0 to sit or to 



I was doubtful about 

the meaning of this sentence. $f could be read ^^ as a 
ca^, which might mean man has been created in the vigour o/* 
life. But as the whole account of the creation consists of passages 
of the Koran, patched together with the view of explaining them, 

these words probably allude to the 38th verse of the twenty -first 

Surah J^S ^ ^UwJ^J iJiX^. which Sale translates on the 

authority of el-Bei'dhawi , man is created of precipitation, i. e., he 
is hasty and inconsiderate. El-LVTas'udi, as we see, differs in his 
interpretation from el-Bei'dhawi. 


has been created (and does not exist from eternity), 
and it is illustrated by the nature of the world. 
But we do not quote in our account what those say 
who accept the revealed religion,, and agree with 
our account, following also the traditions (and 
not speculations); nor do we comment on the 
opinions which are different from, and opposed to, 
ours. We have given such details in our former 
works. We gave however, also, in many passages of 
this work, a summary view of those sciences which 
rest on speculation, arguments, and disputes, and 
we have alluded to different opinions and sects,, but 
that was done by the way of history. 

A tradition, which is traced to the Commander 
of the Faithful, 'All Ben Abi Taleb, tells us that 
God, when he intended to establish the laws of the 
universe, to lay the seed of generation, and to 
produce the creation, gave to it first the form of 
fine dust before he formed the earth, and raised the 
heavens. He dwelt in his unapproachable glory, 
and in the unity of his power. Then he put down 
a particle of his light, and made lighten a sparkle of 
his splendour. The dust rose, and the light was 
concentrated in the centre of this floating dust. 
This represented the figure of our prophet MO- 
HAMMED, on whom may rest the blessing of God ! 
and God said, "Thou art the chosen and the elected. 
In thee rest my light and the abundant gifts of my 
bounty (or my guidance) ; for thy sake I have 

E 2 


spread the soil, and made the waters flow ; for thy 
sake I have raised the heavens, and fixed reward 
and punishment; for thy sake I have created 
Paradise, and hell- fire. I raise the people of the 
holy-house (at Mekka)* to the divine revelation, 
and reveal to them, from the mysteries of my 
knowledge, the sub til ties of reason, and I do not 
leave thee in ignorance of what is not known to 
them. They are to be the proof on earth (of my 
existence) , and the apostles of my omnipotence and 

After this God pronounced the Creed f, and 
assumed the supreme power, and the unity, in 
distinction (from his creation)^. 

* One copy bears " of thy family," L^AAJ ^&>\ instead of 
ulLvAjJj). This reading is very probable, for the tradition seems 
to be a fabrication of the Shiites in order to prove that the 
supreme power, in state and religion, is not elective, but pre- 
destined from the moment of the creation, for the family of 
Mohammed, and his descendants, the 'Alites. 

f This well-known formula which constitutes the whole 
essential part of the Islam runs: " There is no God but God, 
and Mohammed is the prophet of God." 

} The words are X/ 


^ The meaning of this sentence is meta- 
physical and dark, so that I am not quite sure of the correctness 
of my translation. In M. de Gayangoz's copy, the words and 
meaning are quite disfigured. I conceive the sense to be this. 


When God had assumed these qualities, he 
proclaimed to the creation, the election of Mo- 
hammed as his lieutenant on earth, and he showed 
to the creation that the Divine guidance was with 
him, and that the light was his, and the spiritual 

All the qualities which we assign to God are only expressions of 
his essence with respect to the creation as, supreme power, 
X-Jjj* bounty, &c., so that it was the first act of creation to 
" assume" these relative qualities. It is for the rest only by the 
qualities relative to the creation, that we have any knowledge of 
God, so much so, that Aristotle, Spinoza, and the Buddhists and 
Pythagoraeans before them, believed the world to be eternal, like 
God; for, they say, God cannot exist without the world, as high 
not without deep. The difference of Aristotle's and Mas'udi's 
philosophy is, that Aristotle acknowledges only the relative 
qualities of God, and not the absolute ones (i. e. the essence of 
God), which, as they are not relative to the creation, are incom- 
prehensible to man. The only way of coming to some words 
which may express the absolute qualities of God are negations of 
the qualities of the creation (^^.1) for instance, " he is not 
finite, he is not composed of parts," &c., so that there remains 
nothing else but that he is " one," and consequently " eternal,' 
and this is the meaning of /Jt ^^ yo^^] " but he is dis- 
tinct from his creation, and uninfluenced by it: for he is one;" or as 
Hegel expresses it (as the creation is for created beings every- 
thing that we can conceive), "he is the eternal nihilum (Nichts.)" 
The reader will find such passages from Arabic authors which 
may prove that the above ideas are truly Mohammedan, together 
with a further developement of this system of metaphysics, in our 
introduction to this work. 


empire (Xx>UJ) in his family, previous to the promul- 
gation of the law of justice (the Mohammedan 
religion), for its glorious success was predestined. 
Then God hid the act of creation amongst the 
mysteries of his knowledge. After that God 
extended the earth, he expanded the time, he made 
the waters ebb and flow, he raised up the foam and 
smoke; he established his throne over the waters, 
he raised the earth over the level of the seas, and 
he called the creation to obey him, and it acknow- 
ledged him as its Lord. 

God made now the angels partly from the lights 
which he created on purpose, partly from lights 
derived from those already created, and he joined 
the profession of the prophetic mission of Moham- 
med with the creed of his own usity. So it was 
known in heaven before it became known on earth *. 

When God had created Adam he acquainted 
the angels with his high dignity, and that he had 
distinguished him with superior knowledge, in proof 
of which he made him give the names to every 

* This is one of the grandest fables in explanation of a reli- 
gions belief (My thus) ever framed; it tends to make the Mo- 
hammedan religion eternal truth, and to justify the sublime words 
of the Koran : the Islam is the religion of the heavens and 


God made the angels consider Adam as a 
Mihrab, Ka'bah and Kiblah*, to which the lights 
and the righteous spirits were to pray. 

God informed now Adam of what rested in him f . 
But he concealed from him the high dignity which 

* Kiblah XXxi* is that quarter of the world to which the 
believers turn their faces in their prayers. This was, with the 
Moslims, first the temple of Jerusalem, but Mohammed changed 
it, and chose the Kabah, or the temple of Mekka. The part of 
a mosque which is turned towards Mekka is, therefore, the same 
as the high altar in Christian churches, and is called Mihrab. 
There stands the chief person present at the prayers, and per- 
forms the ceremonies, his face turned towards Mekka, and the 
rest of the assembly follow his example. 

t That is to say that he was one of the ancestors of Moham- 
med. This and the next three following chapters contain the bibli- 
cal history in the light in which Mohammed and his followers con- 
ceived it. The highest object of mankind is truth, which is 
eternal and immutable, hence the religion which is all truth and, 
according to some, even the Koran, or the expression of truth is 
eternal. God sent, from time to time, prophets to all nations, so 
that the number of all the prophets amounts to not less than 
1 24,000 ! in order to keep up the profession of this religion on 
earth. The last and greatest of all the prophets was Mohammed, 
he was for all nations, and for all subsequent times. The reader 
has become acquainted with the creation of the corporeal essence 
of the prophetship or light which became fully incarnated in Mo- 
hammed, by the perusal of the preceding pages. This essence of 
the prophetship rested in more or less latent life in his ancestors. 
They were distinguished by a light which shone from their fore- 
heads, till they had begot a sou to whom it was transmitted. The 


he had conferred upon him, for he had called him 
Imam before the angels. He was the bearer of our 
beatitude and of our light which God had kept 
concealed under the veil of time until MOHAMMED 
made his appearance*. 

ancestors of Mohammed were therefore all, more or less, prophets. 
They were at the same time the guardians of the sanctuary of the 
Arabs (the Ka'bah) which did not lose its sacredness by the new 
law. This will explain the following- pages of el-Mas'udi. 

This idea appears to us not to be in contradiction with the 
notions of the Jews, if we pay attention to their genealogies, right 
of primogeniture, &c. The more striking it is that modern 
theologists see in the Old Testament only a preparation and 
propaedeutic to the doctrine of our Saviour, although they ac- 
knowledge that the natural progress of mankind is so unsafe that 
since Christ, serious corruptions of that doctrine had taken place , 
For the rest their idea is certainly more philosophical than the. 
Mohammedan one. 

* Copies disagree here materially; one bearing / . ^ JJ 
^\ LcJo CM^A&H %..d>U3 <j (Xt^JkAaJ literally until Mohammed 
broke forth from the channels (i. e., appeared), and another, JJ 

\ UX3 djty&M^Uo J U*:si >*j ^ until (God) 
ordered Mohammed to detail the laws or dogmas. However, the 
second reading is very improbable, for cMJCJ would be an unusual 
plural of cyC3 and the sense of this sentence would logically 
cohere with the preceding only in the case if we explain light as 
truth, whilst it is evident from what preceded (page 51) that the 
light ivhich was transmitted through the channels, (ancestors,) 
is the essence of the prophetship. But I must add that the par- 
ticle <J consequently, with which the next sentence begins, speaks 


He called mankind publicly and privately (to 
the true religion), and he preached to them openly 
and secretly. And Mohammed appointed to keep 
up the true religion in coming ages, and in genera- 
tions which were not yet born, those who received 
a ray of the light* which had preceded, for they 
are initiated in his mysteries, and understand 
clearly his glorious tendency, and he consoled 
those who are the victims of an ungodly time. 

Then the light was transferred to the distin- 
guished men amongst us (the 'Alites), and became 
resplendent in our Imams. We are the lights of the 
heaven, and the lights of the earth. In us is salva- 
tion, from us go forth the treasures of knowledge. 
We are the centre of all that is going on, by our 
guidance the proofs become conclusive ; we are the 
seal of the Imams, and the liberators of the nation; 
we are the noblest of the creation, the most chosen 
of all things, the proof of the Lord of the worlds ; 
hence, the benefits are best which flow from our 
throne. This tradition is from Abu 'Abdullah 

for the second reading, for the sense would run: having been 
commanded to detail the dogmas or laws, he called mankind, fyc. 
* He means the 'Alites. They inherited as much of the 
essence of the prophetship as was required to keep up the true 
religion. They endeavoured to attain, through these theories and 
numerous rebellions, the same infallibility in religion, and power 
in government, which the Popes had in the middle ages, but they 
were not so successful. 


Ja'fer Ben Mohammed, who received it from 
his father, Mohammed Ben 'All,, who had it from 
his father, 'Ali Ben el-Hosain, to him it was related 
by his parent el-Hosain Ben 'Ali, and he had 
received it from the Commander of the Faithful, 
'All Ben Abi Taleb. We do not feel inclined to 
allege all the channels through which this tradition 
has been preserved, nor the different versions in 
which it has come down to us, as we have given a 
full account of these circumstances, in our former 
works, where we have traced every version to the 
authority whence we have derived it. In this book 
we are afraid to be too long and prolix. 

What I have found in the Pentateuch respecting 
the history of the creation is this ; God began the 
creation on Monday, and had accomplished it on 
Saturday, hence the Jews have chosen Saturday as 
their sacred day. The believers on the Gospel say 
the Messiah rose on Sunday from the grave; hence 
they celebrate Sunday as their holyday. But per- 
sons distinguished by their knowledge of divine 
law, and the sources upon which it is founded, state 
that the creation was begun on Sunday and accom- 
plished on Friday. On Friday the soul was 
breathed into Adam. This was on the sixth of 

Nfsan (April). Then Eve (^ Hawwa)*, was 
created from Adam. 

Ibn Shohna (Universal History, MS. of the Asiatic Society 


They began to inhabit the Paradise when three 
hours of that day had elapsed, and they remained 
there for three hours, which is one fourth of a day, 
and this is equal to 250 years of the world. God 
now discarded Adam from the Paradise, and he 
placed him on Serendib (Ceylon) <_o.>o^ Eve 
at Jiddah "Je=* Iblis at Baisan (^U*AJ) and the 
serpent at Isfahan. 

Adam was placed on mount ez-Zahun ((V^*jJ1 
orj^$iJO in Ceylon; there were leaves with which 
he covered his body, and as they were dry, the wind 
carried them off, and dispersed them throughout 
India. It is said that the frequency of perfumes in 
India arises from these leaves, but some have a dif- 
ferent opinion: God knows best. They say, hence 
are, aloes wood aydl the clove JjLyM madder (?) 
x^U^J musk JC*U and other perfumes particular to 
India. In this mountain sparkle diamonds and other 

at Paris), believes the name Hawwd L^ to be derived from 
"living," for, he says, she was created from something living. 
But it is evident that the name of Eve ought to be written ^Lifc 
ffawdj which means air. Gaia and Uranos have changed their 
sexes amongst the Semites; if we enter into the spirit of the 
mythus, and consider that spontaneous generation must go forth 
from the earth, under the influence of the air, temperature, &c., 
this changing of the sexes leads us to the important historical fact 
that the Semites have not understood the mythus, and can there- 
fore not be the inventors of it, but that they have borrowed it 
from elsewhere. 


precious stones. In the islands of India is the smyris 
u>l>JUJ! and in the bottom of the sea are pearls. 
When Adam descended from the Paradise he took 
a grain of wheat, and thirty cuttings of the fruit-trees 
of the Paradise, ten of them have shells; viz., the 
nut (Juglans regia) j^il the common almond, (Amyg- 
dalus communis) j^AJ! the filbert-nut, (Nux avellana) 
^M^i the pistachio nut cJix^iJi the poppy 
the chestnut JsjJUAliJJ the pomegranate 
the banana,, or plaintain (Musa paradisiaca) 
^U the Syrian oak (Quercus Ballota) kjJuM* 

Ten of them have kernels : the peach y^ the 
apricot (jk*U the Damascene plum, (Pruna nigra seu 
Damascena) y^U^l the date-tree i_Jbyi Ruellia 
guttata J^AAxM the lote-tree (Rhamnus nabeca Forsk. 
Flora Egypt., p. Lxiii), vJuJJJ the medlar-tree 

* Ibn el- Ward! quotes this passage of Masudi adding 
the pine-tree, and *=^UJ\ the orange; but he leaves out 
It is ver y probable that ,bJl>J) and 5sj\^>\*A\ are 
synonymous in some countries, as such they are considered by 
Banquiero (Libro de agricultura su autor Abu Sacaria, Madrid 
1802.) But Avicenna (Lib. II. p. 14S,) and Kazwini make a 
distinction between these two fruits, so that there is no reason 
why Mas'udl should not have mentioned them both. Tlie latter 
author says (MS. of the East India House, Nro. 1377, fol. 
164, verso) "Shdhballut is a tree of Syria which is also found in 
Arran, The fruits of this tree are neither so dry nor so styptic 
as those of the Ballut tree, &c." 


(Mespillum) j^^\ the jujube-tree (Zizipha rubra) 
vLUJt the fruit of the Lontaris domestica* JJiU the 
cherry U-JjXJJ (U*>|jBJ) Some of them have neither 
shell nor any other covering besides the part to 
be eaten, nor a kernel; viz., the apple 
the quince Jc^JuJI the grapes *-U*Jt the pears 
the fig ^^\ the mulberry d^XM the orange ^^\ 
the cucumber (Cucumis pepo) lixH another sort 
of cucumber (Cassia fistula) ^U^O! the melon <g^-^ 

It is related that Adam and Eve were separated 
when they came down from the Paradise. They 
had agreed to meet at an appointed place called 
' Arafat f ciA^c whence this place has its name;}:. 

Adam longing for Eve, came to see her, 

* Mokl JjLo is a gum very like frankincense, but it comes 
from the tree called *^ J (Medical Dictionary of Mohammed Bin 
Yoosoof, Calcutta, 1830, p. 275.) Sprengel (Hist, rei herbar. 
Tom. I., p. 272,) believes +* to be the Lontaris domestica or 

t (jLc 'araf means to know. 

I On this holy spot, and on the ceremonies which the Pilgrims 
have to perform there (on the 9th of Dul-Hijjah), see Burck- 
hardt's Travels in Arabia, London, 1829, p. 266. 

Ibn Shohna says that Adam met Eve when he made the 
pilgrimage by the command of God. This sounds much better, 
for all these details have a tendency to show the antiquity and 
sacredness of some institutions and beliefs. 


and she conceived a boy and a girl ; they called 
the boy Cain ^A* and the girl Lubed jo^J and 
after that she bore him another boy whom they 
named Habil ^A& and a girl whose name was 
Iklimiyd U^X*!. There is some dispute about the 
name of the eldest son of Adam; the most people, 
and amongst them those who acknowledge the Old 
Testament, believe his name was Cain ^.^.l* but 
some state he was called Kabil J^U. J Ali Ben 
el-Jahm ^^\\\ ^^ ^ says in his poem on the 
creation (verses), " We had* a son and called him 
Cain ; after we had given him birth, we did our best, 
and Habil grew up as another fruit of our affections, 
Cain grew up as well, and they did not separate 
from each other." 

Those who believe on the Old Testament say> 
Adam married the twin -sister of Habil to Cain, and 
the twin-sister of Cain to Habil, so that the twins 
should be separated in marriage. The law of 
marriage adopted by Adam, was, therefore, to 
separate, as much as possible, persons allied by 
relationship, in order to prevent, by separating them, 
the bad consequences, and the weakening influence 
upon the offspring; The Magians are of opinion 

* The word which in this case means had in Arabic is 
from Cana. so that it is a jeu de mots with the name C'am. 


that Adam did not object to the marriage of rela- 
tions ; hence, they are not against it. They have 
some mystery respecting this, according to which 
they think it good that a man should marry his 
sister, and the mother her son. We have given the 
details thereof in the 14th Fenn ^iM of our book 
Akhbdr ez-Zemdn. 

Habil and Cain brought a sacrifice. Habil 
selected the best of his flocks, and of his provision, 
and brought it as a sacrifice. Cain took the worst 
that he possessed for this purpose*. What oc- 
curred after this is related by God in the Koran f; 
viz., that Cain murdered Habil in the desert of Ka' 
^Ij' which is in the country belonging to Damascus, 
in Syria. There he struck him with a stone on his 
forehead. Hence it is said the beasts learnt from 
man to be atrocious; for he began to do evil and to 

* En-Nowairi (MS. of Leyden) informs us that the Bedouins 
used to sacrifice animals, whilst the inhabitants of towns in Arabia 
brought unbloody sacrifices. Hence it may be that this tale was 
invented by the Bedouins, in order to throw the odium of the first 
crime on the people of towns amongst whom the ties of relation- 
ship are so much looser than amongst Bedouins. 

f Surah v. verse 31, et seq. 


murder. When he had murdered him, he was 
anxious to conceal his body, carried it (on his 
shoulders) and wandered about with it (not knowing 
what to do). God sent two ravens, one of which 
killed and buried the other. When Cain saw this 
he was struck with horror, and exclaimed the words 
related in the Koran* Wo is me! I had not sense 
enough to do like this raven, to hide my brother's 
shame. Then he buried him. When Adam heard 
of the murder, he was downcast, and mourned. 

El-Mas'udi says: There is a poem popular 
amongst the people which they put into the mouth 
of Adam when he mourned, it runs : 

" The country is altered, and all that is in it. 

The whole earth has changed for the worse. 

All that has life and colour is different ; and 
the sea has lost its lovely appearance. 

The inhabitants have turned the produce of the 
fields into poison and bitterness, and an enemy 
infests us. 

The cursed has not overlooked man, as we per- 
ceive ; for Cain has cruelly slain Habil, and that 
amiable countenance is withered. 

My lot is to shed tears ; for Habil rests in the 

I see a life before me full of sorrow, and all 
that I may meet in it will be gloomy." 

* Surah v. verse 34, edit. Flugel. 


I have found in many books on history, biogra- 
phy, and genealogy, that when Adam said these 
words, Iblis replied from a place where he could 
hear but not see him 

" Thou now complainest about the country and 
its inhabitants, and thou dost feel the earth narrow. 

" Thou and thy wife Hawwa were merry, not- 
withstanding the badness of the world ; but my 
intrigues and machinations were at work until their 
abundant fruits were matured. 

" And if I was not prevented by the pity of the 
Almighty, I should destroy the everlasting beatitude 
of heaven." 

In another book I found a distich standing by 
itself, which Adam heard from a voice, without 
seeing who uttered it: 

" O, Adam! both are killed ; for the living falls 
a sacrifice to the dead*/' 

When Adam had heard this, his pains and sor- 
rows were increased, both for him who was no 
more, and for him who was still alive ; for he knew 
that the murderer was to be killed. 

God revealed to Adam: " 1 will produce from 
thee my light, which shall flow through splendid 
channels and noble roots (ancestors). I will exalt 

* This means, that Cain would be killed ; after the general idea 
that " He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the 
sword." (Apocal. xiii. 10.) 



this light ahove all other lights, and make it the 
seal of the prophets (Mohammed). He shall be 
succeeded by the best of Imams in a continual 
series to the end of time. I will make the world 
answer to their call, and I will enlighten it through 
their followers. Purify and sanctify thyself, and 
praise God : then approach to thy wife, after she 
has been purified, and my promise will descend from 
thee through the child which thou wilt beget." 
Adam did what he was ordered ; and when Hawwa 
was with child, her forehead was covered with a 
lustre, and light shone in her eyes and eyebrows 
till her confinement. Then she gave birth to Shith 
C!AA (Seth.) He was the most beautiful child, 
strong and perfect in his form and in the symmetry 
of his body. He was imbued with a light which 
sparkled from the marks and protuberances of his 
forehead. Adam gave him the name of Shith. 
The gift of God was slumbering in him till he grew 
up ; and when he came to riper age, Adam acquainted 
him with his mission and the promises of God, and 
told him that he would be the agent of God*, and 
his own successor after his death, to support 
truth on earth. This mission was to be inherited 

* &\ SLsS This expression is wanting in Arabic diction- 
aries, although it is not unusual: ^5CX^o &5r A* 3y*i means a 
representative of the king. 


by his descendants, who were to be distinguished 
and glorious. When Adam told this to Shith, 
he kept it secret, and guarded it for the moment as 
a mystery, as it was only to be revealed publicly at 
another time. Adam died soon after, on Friday, 
the 6th of Nisan, at the same hour when he had 
been created; he had lived nine hundred and thirty 
years. Shith was the guardian of the children of 
Adam. It is said that he left forty thousand children 
and grandchildren. 

There is some dispute about Adam's grave. 
Some pretend that it is in Mina*, cfU in the mosque 

* Mina is a valley near Mekka, and, together with the 
mosque el-Khai'f, one of the sacred spots where the Moslem pil- 
grims resort. Mohammed kept up the Pagan ceremony of throw- 
ing there pebbles on a pillar of stone. It has probably the same 
origin as the usage of the Romans and Greeks, of casting stories on 
the statue of Mercury. 

The seven idols which were in the valley of Mina, before Mo- 
hammed, according to el-Azraki, (apud Burckhardt, Travels in 
Arabia, p. 275,) prove at once that the place was sacred to the 
seven planets. We see that the sacredness of the place dates 
from a very remote period, from its being connected with the 
father of mankind ; and we conclude that it has been celebrated 
from the circumstance that its name (although it is so far from 
the coast) reached the ears of Ptolemy, who mentions the Manitae. 
The ceremony of casting stones on the pillar is probably as ancient 
as the place, having ever formed the main object of the pilgrimage 
there. Ibn Ishak, an Arabic writer of the second century of the 
Hijrah, states thus the origin of this ceremony: When Ibrahim 
returned from his pilgrimage to 'Arafat, and came to the valley 

F 2 


of el-Khaif i^Lt. Others believe it to be in 
a cavern of the Mount Abu Koba'is u**>J* ^*- 
Shith exercised the office of judge amongst his co- 
temporaries, and taught them the sacred books 
(revealed to the prophets before him), and other 
books which God revealed to him. 

Shith begot Anush ^ (Enos). When his 
wife was pregnant with him,, the light was trans- 
ferred to her till she was delivered, then the child 
was imbued with the light. When Anush was 
grown up, Shith informed him of what was latent 
in him, and of his pre-eminence; and he ordered 
him to give to his children an education adequate 
to their distinction and high position, and to tell 
them to give to their children the same instruction, 

of Mina, Satan (Iblis) contrived to obstruct his passage; but the 
Angel Gabriel advised him to throw stones on the foe, which he 
did, and, after pelting him seven times, Iblis retired. Ibrahim did 
the same with equal success in the middle and end of the valley 
when Iblis had again made his appearance. It is difficult to say 
whether this tradition is a mystification, to justify the Pagan cere- 
mony, or whether it was current before Mohammed, and his 
motive for keeping it up. If it was more ancient than Mohammed, 
further researches about Ibrahim, son of Azer (i. e. fire), res- 
pecting whom the Arabs have preserved many traditions, inde- 
pendent of the biblical account of Abraham, son of Terah, may 
point out an intimate connexion between Mercury, the god of 
knowledge, and Ibrahim, who rebuilt the Ka'bah and imported 
civilization from the Sabeans of Harran to the Semites. 
* Abu Koba'is is the name of a mountain of Mekka. 


when they would be able to understand it. This 
legacy went from generation to generation, until 
the light came to 'Abdul-Motalleb (the grandfather 
of Mohammed), his son 'Abdullah, and the PROPHET. 
This is a topic of controversy between the fol- 
lowers of different sects, particularly between those 
who adhere to the doctrine of evidence ^jXAxJl 
oaiJL and the followers of the doctrine of election 
jUxiOM i^ls^t. The defenders of the doctrine 
of evidence are Imamists 3UU2J JjM, and form 
a fraction of the sectarians (Shi'ites) Xx/w&l of 
'Ali Ben Abi Taleb and his children by Fatimah*. 
They believe that God does not leave mankind at 
any time without a man who keeps up the religion 
of God (and stands at the head of the believers). 
Such men are either prophets or guardians f, who 
bear the evidence of their rights in their names and 

* The words of the original sJvL /.%.- ,.v iv^UaJJ mean 
literally " the pure ones amongst his ('All's) children." -.MJo 
is the usual epithet for the family of Mohammed. See page 3. 

t Guardians IAAC^! sing, .y^ means the executor of a will, 
or a guardian of an orphan, and hence, in opposition to pro- 
phet, as in the above sentence, it means him in whose hands is the 
executive power of the laws (civil and religious) which God 
has revealed through the prophets, and which must not be changed. 
The first seven Imams are called ^^MO^\ (De Sacy Chrest., 
Tom. I. p. 158.) The origin of the Shi'ite sect, and of the 
technical meaning of the word ^ is attributed to a sentence of 


pedigree from God and his prophet. The doctrine 
of election is defended by the divines of the leading 
cities, the Mo'tazilites X^XxU, a section of the 
Khawarij ^k\JJ, the Morjiites Xv^U, and by 
many of those who admit the traditions and the 
generally received opinions (the orthodox;, and by 
a section of the Zeidians j^Ju^-H. They believe 
that it is the will of God and his prophet that the 
nation should choose a man amongst themselves, 
and make him their Imam, for there are times when 
God does not send a legate. The Shi'ites consider 
such Imams as usurpers of the dignity. 

We shall have an opportunity in the course of 
this work to throw some light on the differences of 
opinions and religious controversies. 

Anush cultivated the earth. Some consider 
Shith as the father of mankind, after Adam, and 
do not allow that the other children of Adam had a 
share in the propagation of our race; but some 
differ from this opinion : God knows best. In the 
time of Anush, Cain, the murderer of his brother 
Habil, was killed. His murder is variously 
related. We refer the reader to our works, the 
Akhbar ez-zeman, and the Kitab el-ausat. 

'Abdullah Ben Saba es-Sauda, who lived under 'Othman: 
go J! ^X ^j!. This sentence became 

the watch-word of the Shi'ites (En-Nowa'iri, MS. of Leyden, 
No. 2 13, p. 1056). 


Anush died the 3rd of Teshrfn, 960 years of 
age. He had a son of the name of Raman ^Uxi'. 
The prophetic light sparkled from his forehead. 
His father took from him the oath of his office, and 
he cultivated the earth till he died. He reached the 
age of 910 years, and died in the month of Tamuz. 
The son of Ka'inan was Mahalayil J^^-o 
(Mahalaleel) . He begot Lud (^j) who was the 
heir of the prophetic light, and gave the oath of 
keeping up truth. It is said that many musical 
instruments were invented in his time by the chil- 
dren of Cain. The wars of Lud and other stories 
have been related in our Akhbar ez-Zeman. The 
children of Shith had wars with the descendants of 
Cain. A race of Hindus, who descend from Adam, 
derive their origin from the children of Cain. 
They inhabit that part of India which is called 
Komdr ^Ui* : from this country the Komdri Aloe 
t^U&tayi has its name. 

Lud lived 962 years,, and died in Adar (March). 
He was succeeded by his son Akhnukh 
(Enoch), who is the same person as Edris 
(instructor) the prophet. The Sabeans* believe 
that he is identical with Hermes ^^jb which 
name means 'Utarid sjlas. (the planet Mercury). 

* One copy bears XjLsAjei!J the companions (of the prophet), 
instead of 


God says of him in his book *, " that he exalted him 
to a high place." He lived on earth 300 years or 
more. He was the first man who taught the com- 
forts of life and sewed with a needle. To him 
thirty books were revealed, and to Shith twenty- 
nine, in which there are the two formulas, ''There is 
no God but God," and " Praise be to Godf." He 
was followed by his son Matushalekh ^JL&yU 
who bore the prophetic light on his forehead, and 
cultivated the land. Matushalekh had many chil- 
dren. Some persons say that the Bulgars 
the Russians (j^ 9 and Slavonians 
are his descendants. He lived 960 years, and died 
in the month of Ilul. He was succeeded by his 
son Lamek jCL. In his time was a great con- 
fusion amongst mankind. He died 999 years of 
age. His son was Nuh ^5 (Noah). In his age 
corruption and injustice were great on earth. Nuh 
rose to be a preacher of God, but the people were 
too rebellious and ungodly, so that they would not 
listen to him. God ordered him to construct a 
ship; and when he had finished it, the angel Gabriel 

* Koran, Surah xix., vers. 58, edit. Fliigel. 

"I" *\A**J * \/Jl4J Perhaps these two words are to be taken 
in the more extensive meaning : they contain the profession of the 
unity of God, and hymns to his praise. 

J Another copy \jLx!t. 


brought him the coffin of Adam, in which there 
was his corpse*. They went into the ship on 
Tuesday, the ninth of Adar. Whilst Nun and his 
family were in the ship, God kept the earth five 
months under water. Then he ordered the earth to 
swallow up its waters, and the heaven to withhold 
its rains f, and the ark stood on the mount el-Jiidi 
tfJ^iL El-Judi is a mountain in the country of 
MasurJ ^U Cc_5J>**^)> an( ^ ex tends to Jezirah 
Ibn 'Omar j+& ^Y^y^ which belongs to the ter- 
ritory of el-Mausil. This mountain is eight farsangs 
from the Tigris. The place where the ship stopped, 
which is on the top of this mountain, is still to 
be seen. 

They say some tracts of the earth did not im- 
mediately swallow up the water, whilst others 

* ,x>Lci &+* f\ dj^-jlj I was tempted to read 
" his covenant" as one copist writes. I shall state the reasons 
for which it must run *A*OJ. 

t Koran, Surah xi., verse 46. 

J Masur seems to be the same word as Masius, which is the 
Greek name of the mount el-Judl. (Strab. pp. 501 and 506.) 
The word e\-Judi has been compared by Bochart with the 
Gordycei montes. 

El-Kazwini (MS. of the East India House, N. 1377.) 
informs us that there was still, to the time of the 'Abbasides, a 
temple on the mount Judi which was said to have been con- 
structed by Noah, and covered with the planks of the ark. Epi- 
phanius (Haeres. 18) reports nearly the same tradition for his 


absorbed it rapidly when they were commanded to 
do so. The lands which obeyed give good water 
on digging; but those lands which were less sub- 
missive were punished by God, the water on digging 
being salt, and the country sandy. The water 
which could not be absorbed went into the depths of 
the earth, and in particular places. This is the 
origin of the seas: they are the remains of the 
waters by which God has destroyed the nations. 
The account and description of the seas will call 
our attention hereafter in this book. 

Nuh went forth from the ark, and with him his 
three sons, Sam -U, Ham *b>, and Jafeth c^L, 
together with his three daughters-in-law, and forty 
men and forty women. They went upon the plat- 
form of this mountain, and built there a town, 
which they called Themanin ^^^ (eighty). 
It bears this name till our time [332 A.H.] The 
children of these eighty persons became extinct, 
and God peopled his creation with the descendants 
of Nuh. To this allude the words of the Koran, 
"We have preserved his progeny, and they are 
those who still exist." God knows best the mean- 

time. The vicinity of Harran, which was the seat of learning 
since Abraham, and the centre of Sabean worship, makes it more 
than probable that this temple was connected with the Sabean 
religion, and the history of the ark owes perhaps its origin to the 
priests of those places. 


ing of these words. The name of the person who 
refused the offer of Nun, when he said to him 
" Embark with us, my son*," is Yam -b. 

Nuh divided the earth amongst his sons, and 
gave to every one of them a part as property. He 
cursed his son Ham on account of his well-known 
behaviour towards his father. He said, " Cursed be 
Ham and his children may he be the slaves of his 
brethren ; but Sam be blessed ; and God shall en- 
large Yafeth, and he shall dwell in the places 
allotted to Samf." Nuh lived, according to the 
Pentateuch |, after the flood 325 years. Some 
historians differ in this point. 

Sam went away, followed by his children ; and 
they took possession of the places allotted to them 
in the land and sea. We shall describe them in 
this book. 

Now we shall speak on the separation of man- 
kind, and the division of the earth amongst the 
three sons of Nuh, Yafeth, Sam, and Ham. 

* Koran, Surah ix., verse 44. 

f These words are literally transcribed from the holy Bible, 
(Genesis ix., 25, 26, 27,) except that they run there, cursed be 
Canaan, instead of Ham. And not without reason, for the 
Canaanites were the victims of those cruelties which might be 
justified by this story as being the fulfilment of the curse of their 
father, and, consequently, according to their ideas, a divine 

Genesis ix. 28. 


Sam inhabited the middle of the earth, from the 
sacred land pJ>J ^^ (i. e. the country of Mekka 
and Medina) to Hadhramaut >^*a^, 'Oman 
^Uc, and 'Alij U. Amongst his children we 
name Arem ^\ and Arfakhshad iX^^J,!. 

One of the descendants of Arem Ben Sam is 
'Ad Ben 'Us (Uz) Ben Arem*; he settled in the 
Ahkaf er-Raml *\ ^^ oUb*lt God sent the 
prophet Hud ^_jfc to the 'Adites, Another of his 
descendants is Themud Ben 'Ad Ben Arem *j*5 
fj m* *l* cu^ They settled in el-Hijr^! (Arabia 
Petrea), between Syria and the Hejaz. God sent 
to them their brother Saleh -LU> His history is 
well known, and we shall insert a summary account 
of it, as well as of the histories of other prophets, 
in the progress of this work. 

Tasm f.*Jb and Jadis (j*o*x^ sons of Laud '^ 
(Lud) Ben Arem, took possession of el-Yemamah 
and el -Bahrein, and the descendants of their brother 
'Amalik vJiJL^ Ben Laud Ben Arem settled in 
subsequent times, partly in the sacred land, and 
partly in Syria. To them belong the 'Amalikites 

* One MS. bears * \ / . ^ io *.c / . *j M^ls an d another 


f This means the " sand-hills," i. e. the desert of southern 


who were scattered all over the country. 
Another brother of theirs, named Ommaim ^\ 
Ben Laud, settled in Faris. 

We shall speak on this subject in the (twenty-third) 
chapter of this book, which is inscribed " The Origin 
of the Persians, and what the historians say on this 
subject;" for some authors connect Kayumerth with 
Ommaim. Others believe that Ommaim settled in 
the land of Webar J^^ ; that is, the country inha- 
bited by the Genii, according to the opinion of some 
Arabic historians. 

The descendants of ' Abil Ben 'Us ^^s. ^s ^.^9 
the brother of 'Ad Ben 'Us, settled in Medina. 

Another grandson of Sam is Mash ^U Ben Arem 
Ben Sam. He went to Babel ; his son is Nimrud 
Ben Mash yiU ^^ ^j** (Nimrod), who built the 
Tower of Babel, and a bridge over the Shat-el-Forat. 
He reigned five hundred years, and was the king 
of the Nabataeans k*JM jX, In his time God divided 
the languages ; so that the descendants of Sam 
spoke nineteen different tongues, the descendants 
of Ham seventeen, and the children of Yafeth 
thirty-six. We will speak further on in this work 
as to the dispersion of the nations over the earth, 
and the poems which they composed at their 
separation in el-'Irak. 

Some believe it was Falegh iJU who divided the 
earth amongst the nations, and hence he was named 


"Falegh;" for this name means "Divider:" 

Shalekh li is the son of Arfakhshad Ben Sam 
Ben Nub, and the father of Falegh, who divided 
the earth; and Falegh is one of the ancestors x^. 

of Ibrahim el-Khalil X/IiOi (the friend of God). 

'Aber ^U another son of Shalekh, is the father of 
Kahtan ^UajS.. Kahtan 's son, Ya'rob <_^ju was 
the first man who was greeted with the title of KING 
JJlU by his children. This is the most glorious 
and most cursed name. Some say this title had 
been in use before him, with the kings of el-Hirah. 
Kahtan is the father of all the Yemenites, 
as we shall mention in the (forty-second) chapter 
of this work, which is inscribed " Yemen, the 
Origin of the Inhabitants of this Country, and the 
various opinions thereon." He was the first man 
who spoke Arabic; at least, he first made the 
meaning clear by terminations vlr^l* 

Yoktan ^IkSu Ben 'Aber Ben Shalekh was the 
father of Jorhom +&}*- who was the cousin of Ya'rob. 
The Jorhomites dwelt originally in Yemen, and 
spoke Arabic ; in subsequent times they emigrated 
to Mekka, according to the traditions respecting 
them, which we shall give. The children of Katura 
\jJaS are their cousins. In subsequent time, 
God made Isma'il settle amongst them, and he 
married into them, so that they were the uncles of 
his children. 


The believers of the Old Testament maintain 
that Lamek JC*J is still alive; for God said to Sam, 
" I will preserve him for ever, whom I make the 
guardian of the body of Adam." Sam buried the 
coffin &jj\3 of Adam in the middle of the earth, and 
appointed Lamek as guardian. Sam died on Friday, 
in the month of Ilul, six hundred years of age : he 
was succeeded in his mission by Arfakhshad J^^L,? 
who attained an age of four hundred and sixty-five 
years: he died in the month of Nisan. After him 
followed his son Shalekh : he died four hundred and 
thirty years old, and was succeeded by his son 
'Aber, who cultivated the country. In his days 
quarrels arose in different places of the earth: he 
died in an age of three hundred and forty years. 
His son Falegh succeeded him : he was two hundred 
and thirty-seven years old when he died. We have 
spoken of him and of the confusion of languages 

Ulxj which took place during his life at Babel. 

His successor was his son Ar'au ^s.j\ (Reu), and 
during his life Nimrud the giant was born, according 
to some accounts. Ar'au died in the month of Nisan, 
two hundred years of age. His son Sharukh ^l^ 
took his place: during his days the worship of 
idols and of images is said to have been introduced, 
owing to several causes. He attained an age of 
two hundred and thirty years. He was replaced by 
his son Nahur.j^U who followed the good exam- 


pie of his fathers: during his life were earthquakes: 
there had never been any before him. He is 
the inventor of the arts of life (^^j^Jl, and of different 
instruments. In his lifetime the Hindus and other 
nations formed themselves into bodies. He 
lived one hundred and forty-six years, and was suc- 
ceeded by his son Tarah ^^3 ; this is the name for 
Azar* yj\ the father of Ibrahim. In his days Nim- 
rud Ben Kan 'an rose. Under en-Nimrud the prac- 
tice of worshipping fire and light f came first in 
use, and he introduced certain (holy) orders in their 
cultus. There were great troubles and wars in this 
age in the world. New empires and provinces were 
formed in the east and west. It was at this time 
when the stars and their predictions began to be an 
object of study. The heavens were divided into 
regions, and astronomical instruments were invented. 
Man began to understand the meaning of all these 
things. The astrologers observed the aspect of the 

* Azar is the name of the father of Abraham in the Koran 
(Surah vi. v. 74) ; Terah is his name in the Bible (Genesis xi. 
26). The name Azar, which means "fire," and the "planet 
Mars," is by no means of Arabic invention ; for Abraham's father 
is called Athar by Eusebius. It is a favourite name amongst the 
star-and-fi re-worshippers. (HYDE, de Relig. vet. Pers. p. 64). 

t The Moon was considered as the concentration of light, 
whilst the Sun is the centre of fire. (Tradition of Wahb Ben 
Monabbih.) * 


heaven for the coming year*, and its prediction, 
and told en-Nimrud that a child would be horn, 
who would expose the folly of their dreams, and 
do away with their worship. En-Nimrud ordered 
the child to be killed ; but Ibrahim was concealed. 
Tarah, who is the same person as Azer, died at the 
age of two hundred and sixty years. 

* The words of the original are 

xJlk Jt- Tali' means originally the point of the 
horizon where it is cut by the parallel of the observer in the east, 
or the section of the horizon of which that point is the middle. It 
is therefore one of the four cardinal points of Arabic astrology 
XX-M^ s\.'jj\ (literally the four tent-poles) ; viz., the Zenith, 
# U**M \amy ti 16 Nadir ^aji\ JO^, the Tali', and the same point 
of the horizon in the west <_j.lxSJ. The planet which is in the 
moment when the sun enters into the sign of the Aries, in the Tali', 
or in the ]0th, 7th, 4th, llth, 9th, 5th, or 3rd degree of ascen- 
sion, or comes soonest to one of these points, is the Regent of the 


year l$J ^jj^ ^ SUUJt ^^(^. And as the Regent exercises 
the greatest influence upon the destiny of the world during the 
year, the whole constellation of the beginning of the vernal 
equinox is called &UJJ xJUs by the way of ellipsis, instead 

of 1 JlkH UJ ^ ( Ab * Ma ' sher > 




The history of Ibrahim (Abraham) (**&>jj\, the prophets 
after him, and the kings of the Children of Israel. 

WHEN Ibrahim was grown up, he went out from 
the cavern where he had been concealed, contem- 
plated the phenomena of nature, and reflected on 
their meaning. Looking at the planet Venus, and 
observing how it rose, he said: " This is my Lord !" 
When the moon rose, and he saw that it was much 
brighter, he exclaimed: " This is my Lord!" But 
when the sun displayed its splendour, he cried out 
full of astonishment, " This is my Lord*!" The 
commentators do not agree in the meaning of 
the words of Ibrahim " This is my Lord." Some 
believe this to be related by the way of induction 
and parable; whilst others are of opinion that it 
happened before he had come to the knowledge of 
truth, when he was still striving. Gabriel came 
now to him, and taught him his religion, and God 
chose him as his prophet and friend JJl^. (I have 
to observe against this explanation that) Ibrahim had 

* El-Koran, Surah vi. verses 76 78. 


received the strength* of God; and he who is 
strengthened by God will be kept pure from sin 
and fall, and from any worship besides the One the 

Ibrahim blamed his people for their idolatry. 
When they were annoyed by the disdain with which 
Ibrahim scorned their gods, and which had attracted 
public notice, en-Nimrud threw him into the fire : 
but God converted the fire into coolness, and he 
was preserved t. The fire did not flame any- 
where on earth on that day. 

* *W xj or f*X$M h as nearly the same meaning as 
" divine grace," only pushed a little further. Education, or 
interest and the spirit of the time, is with most persons the sole 
foundation of their religious and political principles ; and, as their 
selfishness, or want of intelligence and experience, does not allow 
them to appreciate the opinions of others, or to defend their own, 
they take refuge to divine authority, maintaining that their own 
infatuation is the effect of divine inspiration or predestination, and 
the principles of their adversaries a diabolical artifice. El- 
Mas'udi shows himself here, and in his opinion on the Imamship, 
much more in favour of the doctrine of predestination, than was 
general in his time amongst the Sonnites. 

t El-Koran xxi. verse 20 (edit. Fliigel). In order to increase 
the number of miracles, and to find an opportunity for an edifying 
comment, the Rabbins rendered DHttO TIN " Ur of the Chal- 
dees" (Gen. xi. 31) by fire of the Chaldees;" for T)N, ur, means 
" fire ;" and added the above story, which Mohammed inserted in 
the Koran. 

G 2 


After Ibrahim had passed the eighty-sixth or 
ninetieth year of his age, Isma'il was born to him 
by Hajir ^=.U> who was a slave-woman to Sarah 'ij^. 
Sarah was the first person who believed on Ibrahim. 
She was the daughter of Batuwil, the son of Nahur, 
and uncle of Ibrahim. This, however, is contro- 
verted, as we shall mention hereafter. 

Lut^J, the son of Haran Ben Tarikh Ben 
Nahur, was Ibrahim' s nephew, and one of those 
who believed on him. God sent Lut to the five 
towns; viz., Sodum px*w, Ghomura ]^r, Adruma 

U^J, Saghura \jj&e, and Safura ]^JU>. The 

people of Lut were Mutafikah* X&j^U. Some com- 

mentators derive this word from ^31, afak, " a lie." 
God alludes to this in the Koran in the words 
tSj&\ X&j^Xf ) These five cities were situated be- 
tween esh-Sham and the Hejaz, near the two Syrian 
provinces Jordan and Palestine. The spot of these 
towns is barren up to our time (332 A.H.), and the 
stones are marked with shining black lines. Lut 
lived about twenty years amongst these people, and 
preached to them; but they would not believe: 

* El-Koran, Surah xi. verse 91 (edit. Fliigel) ; comp. M. L. 
Dubeux' note to his translation of Tabari, vol. i. p. 144 ; I suspect 
Mutaftkah is a corruption of some Hebrew word. 


therefore this punishment of God came down upon 
them, as it is related in the Koran*. 

When Hajir had borne Isma'il to Ibrahim, 
Sarah became jealous of her; Ibrahim took, there- 
fore, Isma'il and Hajir to Mekka, and settled them 
there. This is related in the Koranf , in the words 
of Ibrahim: " O, my Lord, I made some of my 
children dwell in a barren valley, at thy sacred 
house !" God, hearing their prayers, gave them 
the Jorhomites and 'Amalikites joJUxM ^ p&j*> as 
companions in their solitude, and made men love 

The people of Lut were destroyed in the time 
of Ibrahim, on account of their corruption, as it is 
related in the Koranf 

God ordered Ibrahim to sacrifice his son: he 
showed himself ready to obey; but when he had 
laid him down on his face, God ransomed him with 
a noble victim $. 

Then Ibrahim and Isma'il laid the foundation 
of the house (the temple of Mekka) . When Ibrahim 
was more than one hundred and twenty years old, 
Sarah bore him Ishak. There is some dispute 
about the sacrifice of Ibrahim; some think that 

* Surah vii. vers. 78 82 ; xi. xv. and xxvii. 

f Surah ii. 

| Surah xi. 

El-Koran xxxvii. verse 107 (edit. Fliigel). 


Ishak was to be the victim, whilst others maintain 
it was Isma'il. If it was to take place in Mina (a 
valley near Mekka), it was Isma'il, for Ishak never 
came into the Hejaz; and if it was to take place 
in Syria, it was Ishak; for Isma'il had never been 
in Syria again, after he had been carried away from 
that country. 

Sarah died, and Ibrahim married Kitura \)^**3 9 
who bore him seven sons ; Zimran ^5rj? Yokshan 
tjtlxij Medan ^Ix*, Madyan ^.jjJcc, Nishan ^J^ 
(Ishbak), Shukh ^K, and Kir jj*. Ibrahim 
died in Syria, one hundred and seventy years of 
age : God revealed to him ten sacred books. 

Ishak married Rabeka, a daughter of Batuwll 1 , 
after the death of his father, and she gave birth to 
el-'A'isu and Ya'kub 2 , who were twins, but el-'Aisu 
was first born. Ishak was sixty years of age, and 
nearly blind, when they were born. He made 
Ya'kub the chief over his brothers, and the succes- 
sor in the prophetic mission. To el-'Aisu he gave 
the sovereignty over his children. Ishak was one 
hundred and eighty -five years of age when he died, 
and he was buried with his father, the " Friend of 

* See 1 Chron. i. 32. 


God." The place where they were buried is well 
known; it is eighteen miles from Jerusalem, in a 
mosque which is called the mosque of Ibrahim, and 
the fields of Ibrahim. 

Ishak ordered his son Ya'kub to go to Syria, 
and commissioned him and his twelve children with 
the prophetic office. Their names are Rubil, 
Shima'un, Lawi, Yehuda, Yessajir, Zebalun, Yusof, 
Benyamin 3 . 

Ya'kub was in great fear of his brother el-'Aisu, 
but God protected him: Ya'kub possessed five 
thousand five hundred sheep, and gave to his bro- 
ther el-'Aisu the tenth part of these, in order that 
he might not do him any harm, and for fear of his 
impetuosity. After God had protected him, he 
had no longer to be in fear; (hence he refused to 
deliver the tithes;) but he was punished in his 
children, for having broken his promise. God said 
to him: " Thou hast not obeyed my command; 
hence the children of el-'Aisu shall dominate five 
hundred and fifty years over thy children." This 
was the space of time from the destruction of Jeru- 
salem by the Romans to the conquest of that city 
by 'Omar Ben el-Khattab, during which period the 
Children of Israel were in slavery. 


Yiisof was the favourite of Ya'kub. His bro- 
thers envied him, and their jealousy gave origin to 
the story between Yusof and his brothers, which 
God relates through the tongue of his prophet in 
the Koran *. 

Ya'kub died in Egypt, at the age of one hundred 
and forty years : Yusof carried him to Palestine, and 
buried him at the tomb of Ibrahim and Ishak. 
Yusof died also in Egypt, one hundred and ten 
years old. 

They laid his body into a coffin of stone, closed 
it with lead,, and covered it with a varnish which 
keeps out air and water, and threw it into the Nile, 
at the town of Memphis v^iJU, where there is the 
mosque of Yusof. Some say Yusof ordered that 
he should be buried in the grave of his father 
Ya'kub, at the mosque of Ibrahim. In his time 
lived Ayyub (Job) ; his full name is Ayyub Ben 
Amus Ben Dezaj (Zeerah?) Ben Da'wayil (Reul?) 
Ben el-Aisu Ben Ishak Ben Ibrahim 

He was in Syria, in the district of Hauran 
in the highland of Damascus, from whence 

* In the twelfth chapter, which is therefore inscribed " The 
Surah of Joseph." 


the plain is watered, and in el-Jabiyah*. He had 
a great fortune, and was blessed with many chil- 
dren. God proved him, bereaving him of his pro- 
perty and children. 

He bore this trial with patience, and God 
restored to him what he had possessed. His story 
is related in the Koranf . The mosque of Ayyub, 
and the spring in which he washed his body, are 
famous to this day (332 A.H.): they are not far 
from Nawa ^ and el-Jaulant (^j^it in the pro- 
vince of the Jordan, between Damascus and Tiberias. 
The distance of this mosque and spring from the 
town of Nawa is about three miles. The stone on 
which Ayyub rested at the time of his affliction, 
when his wife died of puerperal fever, is still in that 

Those who believe in the Pentateuch and other 
ancient books^ maintain that Musa Ben Misha Ben 
Yusof Ben Ya'kub cJL*^ (^ ^^ <^jv ^grr 
^j was a prophet before Musa Ben Amran 
^f (Moses), and that it was he who 
sought el-Khidhr Ben Melkan Ben Falegh Ben 

* El-Jabiyah XxjliJ is the name of a hill and village belong- 
ing to Damascus (Athar el-Bilad). 

f Surah xxi. verse 83, and Surah xxxviii. verse 40. 

J This is probably the valley of Ajalon : the author of the 
Jihannuma (p. 559) gives this name to a mount near Damascus. 


'Aber Ben Shaleh Ben Arfakhshad Ben Sam Ben 


Some of those who believe in the Old Testa- 
ment say el-Khidhr was the same person as Hidh- 
run Ben 'Imayil Ben Elifaz Ben el-'Aisu Ben 
Ishak Ben Ibrahim 4 ; he was sent as prophet to his 
nation, who were converted by him. 

Musa Ben 'Amran Ben Fahit Ben Lawi Ben 
Ya'kiib 5 was in Egypt at the time of Fir 'aim 
(Pharaoh) the giant. Fir'aun's name was el-Walid 
Ben Mos'ab Ben Moawiyah Ben Abi Nomair Ben 
Abil-Holus Ben Leith Ben Haran Ben 'Amr Ben 
'Amalik 6 . He was the fourth of the Pharaohs of 
Egypt, and a man of great stature, who enjoyed a 
long life. The Children of Israel had fallen into 

* Khidhr is said to be meant under the " Servant of God," 
mentioned in the Koran (Surah xviii. 64), as having been met by 



slavery after the death of Yusof, and lived under 
great afflictions. The soothsayers, astrologers, and 
conjurors informed Fir'aun that a child would be 
born,, which would make an end to his power, and 
perform great things in Egypt. Fir'aun was 
frightened by this prediction, and gave orders to 
kill the children. The mother of Musa exposed 

her child on the Nile ^ by the command of God, 
as it is related in the Koran *. 

At the same time lived the prophet Sho'aib. 
His full name is Sho'aib Ben Thoriel Ben Da'wayel 
Ben Marik Ben 'Anka Ben Madyan Ben Ibrahimf, 

He spoke Arabic and was sent to the inhabitants 
of Madyan (as a preacher). When Musa had 
taken flight from Fira'un, he went to the prophet 
Sho'aib, and married his daughter, as it is related 
in the Koran f. God ordered Musa to lead the 

* Surah xx. 39. 

t The names of the forefathers of Sho'aib are variously 
spelt in different MSS., and by different authors; but all agree 
that one of them was Madyan, i. e., that he was a Madyanite. 
He is identified with Jethro, but I think without sufficient reason, 
probably the destruction of Madyan by an earthquake gave an 
opportunity for inventing the story of a preacher to whom the 
inhabitants did not listen, and to assign the fatal catastrophe to 
this sin. Compare the note at the bottom of the next page. 
1 Surah vii. verse 83. 


children of Israel into et-Tih AAX!| *; their number 
amounted to six hundred thousand adults, besides 
those who had not attained ripe age. 

The tables which God gave to Musa on the 
mount Sina UA** j^s were of emerald, and the 
writing was in gold. When Musa descended from 
the mount, and saw that the children of Israel were 
worshipping the calf, he was so much shocked at it 
that the tables fell from his hands, and broke. He 
gathered the pieces and put them, with other things, 
into the Tabut es-Sakinah &*!! ^1? which was 
placed in the tabernacle J$A$M. The tabernacle 
was intrusted to Harun, for he was the bearer of 
the prophetic office of this age, ^UjJl ^*S. The 
revelation of the Pentateuch to Musa Ben 'Amran 
was completed when he was in the desert. Harun 
died, and was buried in the mount Mowab, 
v^ (or w ^-<) which is not far from the mountains 
of esh-Sharah 'i\jtA\ and from the mount Sinaf. 

His grave is well known; it is in a frightful 
cavern, in which, sometimes at night, a great 
murmur is heard which frightens every living 
being J. Some say he is not buried, but only laid 

* The desert near mount Sinai. 
f Another copy bears from et-Tohur,^^IiJ| 
I The volcanic action which manifests itself in some places 
near the mount Sinai, by a great noise which proceeds from the 
bowels of the earth, raising sometimes the sound to which this pas- 


into that cavern. This cavern is very curious, as 
we have said. Seven months after, Musa died at 
the age of one hundred and twenty years. Some 
authors state that Musa died three years after 
Harun,, and that he entered esh-Sham (Syria), and 
fought there with the 'Amalikites (Jut UxJI, Korba- 
nites (^j^oLj-XM Madyanites, and other tribes., as is 
mentioned in the Pentateuch. God gave to Musa 
ten books, which completed the number of one 
hundred sacred codes. Subsequently God revealed 
to him the Pentateuch in Hebrew, which contains 
commands and prohibitions, permissions and inter- 
dictions, regulations and decrees. It is in five sifr 
jju,*, which means "books/' Musa had made the 
ark in which the covenant, SUxCj! was preserved, 
of six thousand seven hundred and fifty mithkals of 

The high-priest after Harun was Yusha' Ben 
Ni'm, ^ ^.j-t y. who was of the tribe of Ephraim. 
Although Musa died one hundred and twenty years 
old, he bore not a trace of an advanced age; nor 

sage alludes, has been observed in ancient times, and mentioned by 
Procopius, and by modern travellers, (M. Gray, Dr. Seetzen, &c.,) 
and it is very probable that Madyan, and the other places which are 
said not to have listened to the exhortation of Sho'ai'b, have been 
destroyed by a volcanic eruption and earthquakes, as Abul-Feda, 
(Hist. Anteislamitica, ed. Fleischer, page 31,) relates. 

* The word is Hebrew *)P)p and is hardly ever used by the 
Arabs but in speaking of the Bible. 


appeared Harun old : both retained the appearance 
of youth. After Musa's death Yusha 3 led the 
Israelites into Syria. This country was then in 
possession of giant kings of the 'Amali kites iJi/JUc 
and others. Yusha' sent expeditions against them, 
and had many engagements. He conquered Ariha 
ls?jJ (Jericho) and Za'r*, in the Ghaur^yyj, or low 
country on the Dead Sea, which repels divers, and 
in which no fish or living creature can exist, as it 
has been observed by the author of the logic (Aris- 
totle) f, and other authors of ancient and modern 
time. The Dead Sea receives the waters of the 
lake of Tiberias through the river Jordan. The 

* I take this for the Arabic name of Kirjath-Jearim, which 
was one of the first cities conquered by the Israelites (Josh, xi, 
1 7); there is, besides, some analogy of sound between Jearim or 
Ye'arim, which is the plural of JT'UP Ya'rah, and *.. Za'r; 
the meaning, however, is opposite to the Hebrew word, which means 
a forest, or a place rendered impenetrable by shrubs, whilst *CjSJJ 
is explained in the Kamus as a place without herbs. But Yearim 
is perhaps the name of the tribe who had their quarters in this 

town; for Kirjah JTHp means generally a city. El-Firuzabadi 

mentions a town of the name of j\ so called after a daughter of 

Lot, and Abul-Feda (edit. Reinaud, p. 48.) gives this name to the 
Dead Sea, so that it is very likely we ought to read Zoghar 
instead of Za'r. This, however, would not alter the affinity of 
this name with Jear, for as there is no A in Hebrew, c. must be 
used instead of it. 

t Ei 8' eoTiv a><77Tfp pvOoXoyovai rives fv HaXaKTTiinj roiavrr) Xi/ii/)?, 
fls TJV eat Tts" e'/^aXAfl a-vvftr)<ras avfipomov rj V7rovyiov eVrtTrXetv KOI ov 


water of the lake of Tiberias comes from the lake 
Kafra el-Kera'un ^y^SM >*f *> which is in the dis- 
trict of Damascus. The Jordan runs a great dis- 
tance through the Dead Sea without mixing with 
its water; but in the middle the water of the Jordan 
sinks. Nobody knows how it comes that the 
water of the lake is not increased by the accession 
of this river, which is very considerable. There 
are long stories and accounts related respecting the 
Dead Sea, which we have inserted in our 'Akhbar 
ez-Zeman and Kitab el-Ausat, together with an 
account of the stones found there, which have the 
shape of a melon, and are of two varieties. They 
are called the Jews'-stone, and have been described 
by philosophers, and used by physicians against 
the stone of the bladder f ; this stone is either male 

Kara TOV vSaros. (Meteor., lib. ii. cap. 3, p. 432, a ; 
Genevae, 1605.) 

* The name of this lake is variously spelt in various MSS., 
and I have not been able to determine which is the correct 
reading; for other Arabic authors (Abul-Feda, edit. Reinaud, 
p. 48; Jehannuma, p. 555, &c.) call it the lake of Banias, from a 
neighbouring town which had anciently the name Paneas, or 
Caesarea Philippi, and on coins VTTO Ilcu/ao, as if Paneas had been the 
name of the snow mountain on which the town is situated. With 
ancient authors the lake has the name Samochonitis, which has 
also no reference to the name which el-Mas'udi gives to it. Per- 
haps it is connected with Kaferla, which is the name of a town 
twelve miles from Paneas, in Shultens' Index Geographicus. 

t Ibn en-Nafis (p. 43, edit. Calcut.) and other Arabic phy- 


or female: the male stone is useful for men, the 
female for women. Another production of this 
lake is bitumen, which is called ^-*,=>. There is 
only one lake on earth in which no living being is 
to be found, and this is a lake in Aderbijan, on which 
I have sailed. It is situated between the city of 
Ormiah* and el-Maraghah, and is known there by 
the name of Kabiidanf. Some ancient writers 
enter into the causes why no living being can exist 
in the Dead Sea. Now, although they do not 
reflect upon the lake Kabudan, one must naturally 
conclude that the same causes must be active there. 

sicians praise this stone against lithiasis, and it may be that this 
volcanic production is of an alcalish nature. Avicenna (lib. ii. 
p. 180), however, denies its litholytic properties. Mr. Maundrel 
found a kind of bituminous stone, which answers to the descrip- 
tion given by Arabic authors of the Jews'-stone, excepting the 
size ; for he says that he saw stones of this sort two feet square. 
Dr. Daubeny found it to be similar to that of Ragusa, in Sicily. 

* Although all copies bear Armenia, I thought it quite safe 
to change it into Ormiah XA^,! ; for this is a celebrated city in the 
vicinity of this lake, from which it has its name in other writers, 
being called the lake of Ormiah, and which claims the honour of 
being Zoroaster's birth-place. 

f The copy of Cambridge comes nearest to the true reading 
of this name (jjta^AT), bearing j^J^jJ", of which the copyists 
made generally ^l^xiT or ^J^-xT. After the researches of 
Saint Martin (Memoires sur 1'Armenie, Paris, 1818, torn. i. 
p. 17), there can be no doubt but that all these corruptions are 
intended to express the Armenian name of this lake, which is 


The king of Syria, es-Soma'ida' Ben Hauber 
Ben Malik, marched against Yiisha', and they came 
to several engagements; the result of which was, that 
the king was killed, and Yusha' took possession of 
his whole kingdom. Yusha' came in contact with 
other kings of the Giants and Amalekites, and sent 
corps towards Damascus. Yusha' lived one hun- 
dred and twenty years. His full name was Yusha' 
Ben Nun Ben Ephraim Ben Yusof Ben Ya'kub 
Ben Ishak Ben Ibrahim. Some say Yusha' opened 
his military operations with the war against the 
Amalekite king Samaida' Ben Hauber x-**w 
^^CU'. whose dominions were in the country of 
Ailah, towards Madyan. 'Auf Ben Sa'id el-Jor- 
homi 0$j^\ (jou*) XAJU (jjo says, in allusion 
to this: 

" Doest thou not see Ibn Hauber the 'Amalekite 
at Ailah: he is heated and thin on account of the 
agitation which he is in, being invaded by an army 
of eighty thousand Israelites, partly without, partly 
with armour. 

" The forces of the 'Amalekites, who march after 
him on foot, climbing and running, offer the same 
appearance : as if they had never been amongst the 
cavalry of Mekka. 

" Soma'ida' has never been in calamity before*." 

* The last two distichs are only in the copy of Cambridge. 



In some village of the Belka, in Syria, there 
was a man of the name of Bala'am Ben Ba'ur 
(Beor) Ben Samum Ben Ferstam Ben Math Ben 
Lut Ben Haran, who had answered the call*: his 
people urged him to curse Yusha' Ben Nun ; but 
he was unable to do it. He advised, therefore, 
some 'Amalekite king to send handsome women 
towards the army of the Israelites. They ap- 
proached to the women, and were punished with 
the plague, which killed seventy thousand of their 
men. Bala'am is the person of whom it is said 
in the Koran f, that he had received the signs of 
God, and that he apostatized. 

Yusha' Ben Nun died when he was one hundred 
and ten years of age. After him Kaleb Ben 
Yiifenna Ben Baridh Ben Yehuda stood at the head 
of the children of Israel. Yusha' and Kaleb en- 
joyed the particular grace of God. 

El-Mas'udi says, I found in another copy (of 
the Pentateuch) that Kushan el-Kofri^: was eight 

* To answer the call of somebody, means generally to join 
one's party; here it means that he professed the religion of God, 
to which everybody is called. The Arabs give to the history of 
Balaam a somewhat different version from that which it has in the 
Bible. (Numb, xxii.; xxiv. 14 5 Mic. vi. 5; 2 Pet. ii. 15; Judeii.; 
Rev. ii. 14.) See D'Herbelot, voce Balaam. 

f Surah vii. 

J He means Cushan-rishataim. El-Kofri means the unbe- 


years the ruler of the Israelites after Yusha', until 
he died. 'Othnayil Ben Amayayil Ben Kazin 
(Othniel, the son of Kenaz), of the tribe of Juda, 
ruled forty years, and killed Kush J^^ (Cushan- 
rishataim), one of the giants, who resided at Marib 
v-^U of the Belka. After him the children of 
Israel fell into idolatry, and God permitted that the 
Kana'anites should subject them ten years. After 
this period they were ruled by 'Amlal el-Ahbari* 
cSjlpOM J& (the high-priest) forty years. His suc- 
cessor was Shamwil (Samuel), who reigned until 
Talut ujj.!lk (Saul) came to the throne. During his 
reign the invasion of Jalut >^U- (Goliath), the 
king of the Berbers of Palestine, took place. 

El-Mas'udi says, according to the version after 
which we began to relate this history, the head and 
administrator of the affairs of the children of Israel, 
after Yusha', was Kaleb Ben Yvifenna, and after him 
Finehas Ben el-'Oziz Ben Harun (Aaron) Ben 
'Amranf, who was twenty years the judge of the 

* Probably Heli is meant : in this case his name ought to be 
written ^JUr 'Ilan. Compare p. 102, infra. El-Ahbari means 
generally a Jewish doctor, and not high- priest as here. 

t jydl QJJ (j\s& The copy of Leyden bears el-'Ozir. 
Phinehas the high-priest was the son of Eleazer, and not of Oziz. 
We learn from the Chronicon of the Samaritans, which has been 
translated by Hottinger, that Oziz, the fifth high-priest from 

H 2 


Israelites. He put the books of Moses into a cop- 
per vessel, shut its opening with lead, and took 
it to the rock of the temple of Jerusalem. This 
was before the temple was built. The rock split, 
and in the cavity so formed another projecting rock 
presented itself. When Finehas had placed the 
vessel upon this rock, the cavity closed, and was as 
before*. After Finehas Ben el-'Oziz, the Israelites 

Aaron, has concealed some sacred vessels. It is very likely that 
el-Mas' udi, and the author of the said Chronicon, who is Abul- 
Fath Ben Abul-Hasan, have used the same sources. 

* This rock, which rises about man's height from the level of 
the ground, is covered with a cupola, and on the side of the rock 
stands a chapel, and it enjoys still the veneration of the Moslims. 
(Jihannuma, Constant. 1732, p. 565.) El-Kazwlni gives in his 
work, Athar el-bilad, several other instances of veneration for 
stones in Syria, as the stone sacred to Sho'a'ib at Kafermendah 
k'iXxxjviT, the stone sacred to Job in the Jaulan, &c. Taking into 
consideration the various stones which were almost worshipped in 
Arabia, besides the black stone of Mekka, one might almost 
suppose this gross fetishism formed one time a part of the 
national religion of the Semitic nations, owing, no doubt, to 
aerolithes, which may be very frequent in those volcanic coun- 
tries ; hence, Sanchoniathon ascribes the origin of this practice to 
the god Coelus, saying they are living and animated stones. 

As further instances of the practice of consecrating or wor- 
shipping stones, may be brought forward, the example of Jacob 
(Gen. xviii. 18), the testimony of Clemens of Alexandria 
(Strom., lib. vii.), and the practice of Arnobius (Cont. Gen., lib. i.) : 
" Si quando conspexeram lubricatum lapidem, et ex olivsB unguine 
lubricatum, tanquam inesset vis praesens, adulabar, affabar." 
(Compare Calmet, voce Stone, ") 


were ruled by Kushan el-Atim (Cushan-rishataim), 
the king of Mesopotamia, for they were fallen into 
idolatry, for which they had to endure night years' 
hardship. Then was 'Othnayil (Othniei) Ben 
Yufenna, the brother of Kaleb, of the tribe of Juda, 
judge, forty years. After him they were subjected 
by Aglum (Eglon), the king of Mowab, who kept 
them under great oppression eighteen years. Then 
was Ahud, of the tribe of Ephraim, their judge 
fifty-five years. When he had been thirty-five 
years judge, the age of the world was four thousand 
years: this, however, is controverted by chronolo- 
gers. He was succeeded by his son Sha'an (Sham- 
gar, the son of Anath). Then they were conquered 
by Bills (Jabin), the Kanaanite, king of Syria, 
twenty years. Then ruled a woman, of the name 
of Dabura (Deborah), who was, according to some 
authors, the daughter of her predecessor. She 
joined with herself a man of the name of Barak, 
forty years. After her they were conquered by the 
chiefs of the Madyanites, viz., 'Urib (Oreb), Zerneb 
(Zeeb), Buria, Dara' (Zebah), Salana (Zalmunna), 
seven years and three months. Then Jida'un 
(Gideon), of the family of Menasha, forty years. 
He killed the kings of the Madyanites, and was 
succeeded by his son Abu Malikh (Abimelech). 
Then Thula' (Tola), of the tribe of Ephraim, 
twenty-three years. Then Nas (Jair), of the family 
of Menasha, twenty-two years. Then the kings of 


Amman (Ammon), eighteen years and three months. 
Then Yehtim (Jephthah), of Beit Lehm, seven years*. 
Then Samsun, twenty years. Then they were sub- 
jected by the kings of Palestine forty years. Then 
Tlan (Heli), the high-priest, forty years. In his 
time the Babylonians conquered the children of 
Israel, took the ark, through which the Israelites 
had expected to gain the victory over them, and 
they carried it to Babel. They made the Israelites 
and their children captives, and carried them off 
from their homes. 

At the same time happened what is related of 
the people of Hizkil (Ezekiel), who went out from 
their homes for fear of death (of the enemy), although 
they were thousands in number. God said to them 
"Die;" and when they were dead, he restored 
them to life again. Then they were visited with 
the plague, and only three tribes of them escaped 
death f. One tribe took refuge on the sea-shore, 
the other to some island of the sea, and the third to 

U^AJ Bethlehem, the city of flesh, or incarnation. The 
form more frequently used to express incarnation and naturali- 
sation, is *l^\J^J (Ibn Khaldun, Proleg., lib. i.) 

f Koran, Surah ii. verse 244, edit. Fliigel. The tendency of 
this story of the Koran is to show that it is of no avail to fly 
from an enemy ; for God can restore the dead to life, and destroy 
men in thousands by the plague as well as by war. The fable 
owes its origin probably to Rabbinical traditions invented as a 
comment upon the thirty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel. 


the summits of the mountains: after many adven- 
tures they came back to their homes, and said to 
Hizkil, " Hast thou ever heard of a people that had 
to experience what we have encountered?" Hizkil 
answered, ' ' No, I have never heard of a people who 
have taken flight from God as you have done." God 
sent after seven days again the plague amongst 
them, and they died all to the last man. 

After 'Ilan, the high-priest, ruled Ashmawil Ben 
Baruha Ben Nahur (Samuel). He was a prophet, 
and administered the state of the Israelites twenty 
years. God gave them peace, and blessed them. 
But subsequently, when they were in new troubles, 
they said to Ashmawil, " Send us a king, and we 
will fight in the way of God." He was ordered to 
make Talut, who is Saul Ben Kish Ben Abiyal Ben 
Sarur Ben Bakhurat Ben Asmida' (Aphiah) Ben 
Benyamin Ben Ya'kub Ben Ishak Ben Ibrahim, 
their king: he gave him power, and the Israelites 
had never before been all united as they were under 
Talut. From the emigration of the Israelites from 
Egypt, under Musa, to the accession of Talut, 
elapsed five hundred and seventy- two years and 
three months. Talut was originally a tanner, and 
made leather. Their prophet Ashmawil announced 
to them, 4< God has set Talut king over you." 
They answered, according to what God says*, 

* Koran, Surah ii. \erse 248. 


" How shall he reign over us ? We are more 
worthy of the sovereignty than he; and he is not in 
possession of a great fortune." " The proof of his 
sovereignty," said Samuel, "shall be the ark, in 
which there is tranquillity * from your Lord, and 

* The word which I render by tranquillity is sekinah 

-> j /.T-O xu-j. This is not considered as an Arabic 
word by lexicographers, and I have found it only in one instance, 
besides in the above sentence from the Koran, in a passage of 
Ibn Khaldun (Prolegomena, MS. of Ley den, folio 112, verso), 
which runs thus, if the MS. is correct: jjf *L*>JJ 

SL ''The rulers will have obtained 
an arbitrary and absolute power over the subjects; hence they 
will encroach upon all their money by introducing customs, or 
monopolies, or confiscations of private property on or without 
suspicion. The soldiers will become daring in this phasis towards 
the rulers ; for they have lost their vigour, and the enthusiasm for 
their own cause and caste is declining: they have, therefore, 
nothing better to expect. The attempt to remedy the evil by 
settling the gratuities (and changing them into regular pay), and 
by making enormous expenses for them, will fail, and they will 
find no friend/' 

Maracci and Sale, in their commentaries to the Koran, and 
after them De Sacy, in his Chrestom. Arabe (torn, ii., p. 77), 


the relics of the signs (which God had given to 
former prophets)." The ark remained ten years 

follow the opinion of some Arabic interpreters of that book, 
and consider the word as the Hebrew pWQttf shekinah, which is 
derived from /.jX*j> to rest, to be quiet) to be present, and means 
the divine presence in the temple of Jerusalem, which drove from 
thence the princes of the air (genii of the Arabs), and made it 
quiet: then it means also inspiration, and in the Targums or the 
Chaldee paraphrases it is used for Holy Ghost (Calmet, Diet, 
of the Bible) . This signification, however, would be quite con- 
trary to the ideas of Mohammed, who probably took up the term 
without connecting a clear idea with it : for things of which we 
do not understand the meaning, or which have none at all, are 
most edifying. Some commentators of the Koran say, therefore, 
the tabut es-sakmah was an ark given to Adam, which contained 
the portraits of all the prophets up to Mohammed. For as there 
are many false prophets who have wrought miracles, whilst the 
Arabic legate of God professed that he did not perform any other 
but moral wonders, it would indeed have been the best to have a 
portrait to verify the man who is to be believed. This fabrica- 
tion seems to have been forged in opposition to the Jenahians, 
Xx^UiJ, who considered descent as the evidence of the pro- 
phetic mission of a man ; and as our author seems to have been 
very much in favour of the latter doctrine, as it appears from 
what he says above, p. 54, (compare the second note to p. 55, 
supra,) he must have rejected this explanation of sakinah, and 
have taken the word in its first meaning as tranquillity. This 
justifies also the suggestion contained in the first note to p. 73, 
supra, which is besides confirmed by the first six lines in p. 79, 
supra, from which it appears that el-Mas'udi believed that the 
tabut (ark, coffin) of Adam contained his body, and not the 
portraits of the prophets. 


at Babel. They heard at dawn the noise of 
the angels flying round the ark, and it was carried 

Jalut iS^U. (Goliath) was very powerful, and 
his troops and leaders were numerous. When 
Jalut (Goliath), whose full name is Jalut Ben 
Balud Ben Diyal Ben Hattan Ben Faris Ben Nasud 
Ben Sam Ben Nuh ^U^ ^ JUS ^ S^L & ^U 
gy ^ *L ^.jj Jj>*sU ^.j^ u^jL5 (^j-it heard that the 
Israelites had put Talut (Saul) on the throne, he 
marched with several races of Berbers j*jA\ from 
Palestine, towards the Israelites. Samuel ordered 
Talut to go out with the children of Israel to fight 
against Jalut. God sent them the trial at a river 
between the districts of the Jordan and Palestine, 
which he has related in his book*. When they 
were very thirsty, they were ordered how they 
should drink: those who doubted, lapped like dogs, 
and they were killed by Jalut to the last man. 
Saul selected from his best troops three hundred 
and thirteen men, amongst whom were the brothers 
of Dawud (David), and Dawud himself. The two 
armies met, but the battle was undecided. Talut 
encouraged his men, and promised to any one who 
would go out against Jalut one-third of his king- 

* Koran, Surah ii. verse 250. Mohammed has confounded 
Saul and Gideon. (Judg. vii.) 


dom, and his daughter in marriage. Dawud went 
out against him, and killed him with a stone which 
he had in his forage-bag. He threw it with a 
sling, and Jalut fell on the ground. This is related 
in the Koran *, where God says, " Dawud slew 
Jalut . . . These are the signs of God." 

Some say, Dawud had three stones in his 
forage-bag, which united, and became one stone; 
and this they say was the stone with which he killed 
Jalut. There exist several comments on this 
stone, which we have related in our former works. 
Some pretend that it was Talut (Saul) who slew 
those who lapped from the river, and acted con- 
trary to the command of God, and not Jalut 
(Goliath). We have related the story of the coat 
of mail, of which their prophet had predicted that 
nobody could conquer Jalut except whom it fitted; 
and which fitted Dawud: we have given details 
respecting these wars, and the river which dried up : 
and we have related the history of the kingdom of 
Talut (Saul)f, and the Berbers, and their origin, in 
our book called the Akhbar ez-zeman, and we shall 
speak on it in the following pages of this work, in 
a more adapted place, where we give a brief account 
of the history of the Berbers, and their dispersion 
over the earth. 

* Koran, Surah ii. verse 250. 

f It should probably run, the kingdom of Jalut, or Goliath. 


God made the name of Dawud glorious, and that 
of Talut obscure; for Talut refused to keep his 
promise to him. But when he saw that Dawud 
became popular, he married his daughter to him, 
and gave him the third part of his possessions, the 
third part of the revenue, the third part of his 
jurisdiction, and the third part of his subjects. 
After he had done so, he envied him, and intended 
to deprive him of them. But God did not permit 
it, and Dawud declared himself against his inten- 
tions. All what Dawud did prospered. Saul 
died in the night, under great depression of spirits, 
whilst he was sitting on his throne. After his 
death the whole empire came under Dawud. 

Talut reigned twenty years. The spot where 
Dawud killed Jalut is said to be Baisan, in the 
Ghaur, which is a district of the Jordan. 

God rendered the iron soft for Dawud,, and he 
made coats of mail. God made the mountains 
and birds subservient* to him, and they praised 
God with him. David had wars with the people 
of Mowab, in the country of el-Belka. God re- 
vealed to him the Book of Psalms, in Hebrew, 
consisting of one hundred and fifty Surahs. He 
divided them into thirds: one third fortells the 

history of Bokhta Nassar ^a5 tlXir (Nebuchadnez- 

* Koran, Surah xxxviii. verses 17 and 18. 


zar) with the Israelites ; another third predicts what 
would happen to them from the people of Athur 
j>\; and one third contains admonitions, exhor- 
tations, and hymns. There are neither laws nor 
interdicts, nor permissions nor prohibitions, in the 
Psalms. Dawud was successful in all that he did; 
and even those unbelievers who had a rebellious 
spirit, were filled with respect for him, in all parts 
of the earth. He built a house for holy service at 
Kurat el-islam*,, that is to say, in Beit el-Makdis. 
This temple is standing in our time [332 A.H.], and 
it is known under the name of Mihrab of Dawud. 
There is at present no building in Jerusalem which 
is higher than this temple. You can see from its 
top as far as the Dead Sea and the River Jordan. 

To Dawud happened the story of the two adver- 
saries, to which an allusion is made in the Book of 
Godf. Dawud, before he had heard the other, 
passed the sentence: " He has wronged thee in 
asking from thee (thy ewe), &c." The commen- 

*. jj Kurat el-isldm, means the district of the 
islam, and is a play of words with the name of Jerusalem, 
with which it has some similarity of sound, it being pro- 
nounced by the Arabs, Uraslam, or Aurashlim j^^JLiUJ, or 
simply Shallam ^& (el-Kamus, p. 1647). Compare the twenty- 
eighth chapter, infra. 

t Koran, Surah xxxviii. verse 21, et seq. 


tators to the Koran do not agree respecting the 
fault of Dawud (for which he is blamed in the 
Koran). Some give the same explanation which 
we have just given, and which is justified by the 
words *, " We have made thee our lieutenant on 
earth, &c." But some say that the story of the 
two adversaries was a parable in allusion to Uria 
Ben Kenan, and his being killed, as it is mentioned 
in the " boohs of the beginning" *JXAA)U u*xT, and 
in oilier works. Dawud underwent a repentance 
of forty days' fasting and weeping. He had no less 
than one hundred wives. Solaiman was his son: 
he showed great talents, and used to be present 
when his father exercised the duties of a judge; 
and God gave him \visdom in speech and judgment, 
as it is said in the Koran f, " We gave to all of them 
wisdom and knowledge, &c." When he was dying, 
he made Solaiman his heir. Dawud reigned forty 
years over Palestine and the Jordan. He had an army 
of sixty thousand soldiers, with swords, shields, and 
good horses; they were men in the prime of life, 
full of courage and vigour. 

* Koran, xxxviii. verse 25. After the words quoted stands, 
in this, and in several other instances, 3Lj5N> which I render by 
"&c.;'' for it cannot mean anything else but "and the rest of 
this verse." 

Surah xxi. verse 79. 


In his age flourished Lokman the Wise, in the 
country of Ailah and Madyan: his full name is 
Lokman Ben 'Anka Ben Madyan Ben Merwan 

He was a Nubian, and a freed slave of 
Lokain Ben Jesr *& ^JU. Lokman was born 

in the tenth year of the reign of Dawud. He was 
a slave, full of virtue, and God gave him wisdom. 
He lived distinguished by his wisdom and abste- 
miousness until Yunos Ben Matt a csU ^ u*A*H 
(Jonas) was sent to Ninive, in the country of 

After the death of Dawud his son Solaiman was 
the bearer of the prophetic office, and the judge. 
He extended his justice over all his subjects, his 
government was firm, and he held the armies in 
due submission. Sola'iman began to build the Beit 
el-Makdis (the temple of the sacred city), which is 
called the most remote temple ^taSW <X:sx*wo, round 
which God pours out his blessing. When he had 
finished the construction of the temple, he built a 
house for himself. This is called in our days the 
Church of the Resurrection*, and is the greatest 
church at Jerusalem; but there are other large 

XJl 3U*AxT. See Golius' notes to Alfergani, p. 158, 
and Castelli's Diet. Heptagl. 


churches besides, as the Church of Sahytin (Sion), 
which has been mentioned by Dawud, and the 
Church of el- Jesmaniyah * X>oU*iJ, in which 
Dawud is said to be buried. God gave to Solaiman 
greater favours than to anybody before him, and 
he made subservient to him men, genii, birds, and 
winds, as it is related in the Book of Godf. Solai- 
man ruled forty years over the Beni Israel. He 
died in an age of fifty-two years. 

* This is probably the church which Haji Khalfa (p. 565) 
calls the Church of the Virgin Mary ; for the place where it is 
situated has with him the name el- Jesmaniyah. I suppose Jes- 
maniyah means corporis Christi; for the Christian Arabs have 
formed a number of words after the genius of the Syriac and 

3 > 

Greek languages, as *J&'^, plur. *jotS'i person (of the Trinity); 
iII^AwUM the human nature (of Christ) ; uj^&JJ Godhead 
implying a somewhat different idea from 5U6 Jil| ; *>lcr?"Mj 
the union (of the three persons of the Trinity), and hence quite 
different from the pure Mohammedan idea expressed by the word 

] ! (Mefatih el-'olum.) 
f Koran, Surah xxi. and xxxviii. 



The reign of Rakhobb'am Ben Solaiman Ben Ddwud, 
and the Israelite kings who succeeded him. Concise 
account of their Prophets. 

AFTER the death of Solaiman, his son Rakhobo'am 
*ju^!j came to the throne. He ruled at first over 
all the tribes; but subsequently they separated 
themselves from him, except the tribes of Judah 
and Benjamin. He reigned seventeen years. 

The king of the ten tribes was Yeruboham 
(Jeroboam), who had several wars, and worshipped 
a calf of gold and jewels. God destroyed him after 
a reign of twenty years. 

Then reigned Abya (Abijah), the son of Rakho- 
bo'am Ben Solaiman, three years. Then reigned 
Ahar (Asa) forty years. Then reigned Yuram 
(Jehoram), who introduced the worship of idols 
(stars), statues, and images: he reigned one 
year. Then reigned a woman, of the name of 
'Athalan (Athaliah), who destroyed the descendants 
of Dawud, and only one boy of this family was 
spared. The children of Israel, indignant at her 
cruelty, killed her, after a reign of seven years, and 
made this boy their king. He was seven years of 
age when he came to the throne, and reigned forty 


years, or less. Then reigned Amasyd (Amaziab) 
fifty- two years. During his reign lived the prophet 
Sha'ya U*~ (Isaiah), with whom he came in frequent 
contact. He had some wars,, which we have re- 
lated in our book Akhbar ez-zeman. Then reigned 
Yutham (Jotham) ten years ; according to others, 
sixteen years. After him reigned Ahaz : he intro- 
duced idolatry, and was an unjust king. One of the 
greatest kings of Babel, named Baghin* ^L,, 
marched against him. After long wars between Ahaz 
and the king of Babel, the latter made Ahaz prisoner, 
and destroyed the towns of the (Israelite) tribes, 
and their dwellings. 

During his reign religious quarrels took place 
between the Jews and the Samaritans *^U-^J. 
The Samaritans deny the prophetic mission of 
Dawud, maintaining that there was no prophet after 
Musa. They chose their chiefs from the descend- 
ants of Harun (Aaron) Ben 'Amran, and live in 
our time [A.H. 332], in separate towns, in the 
Jordan and Palestine, as, for instance, in the town 
called 'Ara r,U, which is between er-Ramlah and 
Tiberias, and other towns as far as Nabolos 

* This is a corruption for Tiglathpileser, instead of which 
one copy bears y^aX* ', so that it may be inferred, from the 

great difference which exists between the two copies, that el- 
Mas'udi wrote the name correctly, but that it was corrupted by 
the copyists, as it happened with other names. 


(Naplous). In this last-mentioned city they are 
most numerous. They have a (sacred) mount which 
they call Tur* j^Jb, and they offer there prayers at 
certain times. They sound bells of silver at prayer 
time, and it is they who say, " Do not touch me !" 
They believe that Nabolos is the sacred town (Beit 
el-makdis)t, and the town of Ya'kub, and that 
there is the place where his flock grazed. The 
Samaritans are of two sects, which are separate 

-3. These are the words of the original in the copy of 
Leyden. De Sacy quotes this passage thus, in his Chrestomathie 
Arabe (torn. ii. pp. 342 and 343): jo &\ jUu Ja>- *^ 

Igj'U^f ^i C>JjXo axXc s^oLj&J JojJ, and translates ac- 
cordingly: Us ont la une montagne nominee Tor-berik. Les 
Samaritains font la priere sur cette montagne dans les temps 
destines a ce pieux exercice. The MS. of Cambridge bears 

t Isstachri (edit. Moeller, p. 31) says nearly the same thing: 
here are his words : 

syc l^! El-Edrisi transcribed this passage in his work, and 
corrupted it thus: - - - '[^\ XAJX 


*yc . Nabolos is the town of the Samaritans, and the people of 
Jerusalem believe that nowhere Samaritans are found but in this 

I 2 


from each other, as they are separate from the 
other Jews. One of the two sects is called Kushan * 
^Uj.r, and the other Dushan (or Rushan) e t*^ 
(jiZjj). One of these two sects believes that the 
world has no beginning f, and other dogmas of this 
nature, which I forbear to mention, for fear of being 
too tedious in a work which professes to treat on 
history, and not on opinions and doctrines of sects. 
Ahaz had reigned seventeen years before he 
was made a prisoner by the king of Babylon. In 
his captivity a son was born to him, who received 
the name Hizkiya U*^ (Hezekiah). He kept up 
the religion of the true God, and gave orders to 
destroy images and idols. During his reign Senna- 
harib <-o^L^\Mo the king of Babel, marched against 
Jerusalem. He had several wars with the Israel- 

town, &c. ( Rosenmiiller, Analecta Arabica, pars iii. p. 3. 
Compare Jaubert's Translation, torn. i. p. 335.) 

This may serve as an example how Oriental writers are some- 
times misled by corrupt readings, and may illustrate the note to 
page 1 1 7 of this volume ; for there can be no doubt that this 
fault is to be attributed to el-Edrisi himself, and not to the copyists, 
since it is found in the copies of Oxford and Paris. 

* If the Cuthaeans derive their name from Cush, or Scythia, 
the spelling is here more correct than in the Bible (2 Kings xvii. 
24, 30; Ezra iv. 1, 2) ; for there it is /TO Kuth, Xov0. 

f Arabic scholastics make a distinction between rjj, which 

is the term used here, and JjJ: the former meaning what has 
no beginning, and the latter what has neither beginning nor end. 


ites, and suffered great loss; but finally he took 
many tribes prisoners. Hizkiya reigned till he 
died, twenty-nine years. 

After Hizkiya his son Manasha (Manasseh) 
reigned. He killed the prophet Sha'ya, and gave a 
bad example, which was followed by his subjects. 
God sent Constantine, the king of er-Rum*, against 

* "The Lord brought upon them the captains of the 
host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the 
thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 
And when he was in affliction he besought the Lord his God 
. . . . And [God] brought him again to Jerusalem, into his 
kingdom." (2 Chron. xxxiii. 11, 12, 13.) Petavius believes that 
this Assyrian king was the Berodach-baladan of the Scriptures 
(2 Kings xx. 12), and Map8oKfp,7ra8os of the Chronological Tables 
of Ptolemy. As the copyists put frequently a known word instead 
of a name of less frequent occurrence, we may suppose that el- 
Mas'udi wrote Mardokempad, king of Atur, (see our note to 
page 31 of this volume,) of which the copyist made Constantine, 
king of er-Rum; for el-Mas'udl was well acquainted with 
Ptolemy's Chronological Tables, and quotes them in the Tanbih. 

But in comparing this passage with the words of et-Tabari 
(who was one of the sources whence el-Mas'udi derived his infor- 
mation), preserved by Ibn Khaldun (MS. of Leyden, No. 1250, 
vol. ii. fol. 44, verso), we feel inclined to ascribe this gross anachro- 
nism to our author's want of attention: XxjU 

"In the fifty-second (year of the reign of Manasseh) Byzan- 
tium was built : the founder of this city was King Yuros. It is 
the same town which has been renewed by Constantine, and 


him, who invaded his country with several armies, 
put his troops to flight, made him a prisoner, and 
kept him twenty years in er-Rum, in captivity ; but 
changing his former conduct, he was restored to 
his kingdom. He reigned till he died, twenty-five, 
or, as others say, thirty, years. 

His successor was 'Amun (Amon), who neither 
believed nor obeyed God, but worshipped images 
and idols. When his ungodliness had reached the 
utmost, Fir'aun the Lame gjs-W u**j* marched 
from Egypt, with a large army, against him, and 
after he had made a great slaughter amongst the 
Israelites, he took him as prisoner to Egypt, where 
he perished. He reigned five years. Some authors 
differ in their account. After him reigned his 
brother Tufil J^yT, who is the father of the prophet 
Danial jUib. During his reign el-Bokhta Nassar 
(Nebuchadnezzar), the governor of el- 'Irak, and the 
Arabs * ^xJ^oV^xJi, under the king of Persia, who 

called after his name." (Compare Eusebius, Chronicorum Canonii 
ad Olympiadem 30, A. H.) Now seeing the account of the cap- 
tivity of the Israelites on the same page with the name of Con- 
stantine, he, probably overlooking a line, took him for the king 
who made them prisoners. For a similar mistake of el-Edrisi, 
owing to the perusal of a corrupt copy of the author whence he 
was compiling, see the note to page 115 of this volume. 

* Perhaps it ought to read 'Irak el-' Arab, which is the name 
for Babylonia, and I should not have hesitated to change the read- 
ing, if Herodotus did not give nearly the same title to Sennaherib, 
calling him BcwiAe'a *Apa/3tW re *cai ' 


was then residing in Balkh, the capital of his em- 
pire, marched against the Israelites; and after he 
had slain many of them,, he took them to el-'Irak, 
into captivity. He carried also the Pentateuch and 
the books of the prophets and the histories of the 
king away, which were in the temple at Jerusalem, 
and threw them into a well. The ark of the cove- 
nant fell also into his hands, and he preserved it in 
some place of his country. The number of the 
Israelites who were in captivity is said to have been 
eighteen thousand. In his time lived Jeremiah the 
prophet. El-Bokhta Nassar made a campaign 
against Egypt, and killed Pharao the Lame., who 
was at that time the king of Egypt. Thence he 
proceeded towards the West, took the kings pri- 
soners, and conquered many towns. 

The king of Persia had married a woman of the 
Israelite captives, who bore him a child, and he 
sent the children of Israel back into their homes 
after two years' captivity. When they had re- 
turned into their native country, reigned Zorobabil 
Ben Salsal (Zorobabel, the son of Selathiel). The 
town of Jerusalem was rebuilt, and what had been 
destroyed was re-established. They got the Penta- 
teuch out of the well, and their state became flourish- 
ing. This king devoted forty-six years to the culti- 
vation of the country ; and he ordered them to keep 
the prayers and other obligations prescribed by the 
Law, which had been neglected during the captivity. 


The Samaritans believe that the Pentateuch 
which was recovered from the well, was not the 
same which Musa had given to them,, but that it is 
full of fictions, changes, and alterations. The 
author of the new Pentateuch which the Jews have 
is Zorobabil, who collected it from the accounts of 
those who knew it by heart, whilst the genuine 
Pentateuch is in the hands of the Samaritans. This 
king reigned forty-six years. Another version of 
this history says, that the person who married a 
Jewish lady was el-Bokhta Nassar himself, and that 
he released the Jews from the captivity. 

After Ibrahim his son Isma'il took charge of the 
house (Ka'bah, at Mekka). God made him a pro- 
phet, and sent him to the 'Amalikites, and to some 
tribes of Yemen, to forbid to them idolatry. Some 
of them became believers ; the most part, however, 
remained faithful to the false religion. Ismael was 
blessed with twelve sons, viz., Nabet (Nebaioth), 
Kidar, Abdil, Mibsam, Maisa' (Mishma), Duma, 
Dowam*, Mita (Massa), Heddad, Taim (Tema), 
Yetura, and Nan's, **AXI; p**^ J^l; ^\& ^L* 

\* U. Ibrahim 

* Dowam is not mentioned in the Bible (Chronicon i. 29, 30): 
it crept in probably by writing Duma twice, once wrongly spelt ; 
and then, in order not to have thirteen names, the copyists left out 
Kedemah, which is the name last mentioned in the Bible. 


declared Isma'il as his successor, and Isma'il in- 
stalled Nabet, or according to others, Kidar, to 
succeed him. When Isma'il died, he was one 
hundred and thirty- seven years of age, and was 
buried in the mesjid el-Haram (the temple of 
Mekka), on the spot where the black stone is. 
After him the charge of the temple was intrusted 
to his son Nabet, who followed the good example 
and religion of his father. 

There were several prophets and men distin- 
guished by godliness between Solaiman, son of 
Dawud, and the Masih (Messiah), as Aramaya 
Uc^l (Jeremiah), Daniyal (Daniel), 'Ozair ^y. 
(Ezra) [whose prophetic dignity is controverted], 
Sha'ya (Isaiah), Hizkial (Ezekiel), llyds (Elias), el- 
Yasa' (Elisha), Yunos* (Jonas), Dul-Kifl 

* I preserve here, and in other Scriptural names, the Arabic 
sound; for some changes are as much sanctioned by use with 
them, as in English to say John instead of Joannes. Besides, 
these corruptions may yet point out whence the Arabs have 
originally derived their Biblical knowledge. Some Hebrew names 
seem even to have been originally Arabic, and to have been pre- 
served in the language of this nation, as well as in the Scriptures. 
Only, in putting the vowels, I follow in preference the Scriptures, 
when Arabic authors do not agree: some authors write the Kamus 
Nomrud, whilst others write Namrud and Nimrud. I prefer 
the latter. 

t The name of Dul-Kifl is twice mentioned in the Koran; 
the first time (xxi. 85) with Isma'il and Idris, and the second 


and el-Khidhr* j*a.\. A tradition reported by 
Ibn Ishak (or Ibn ' Abbas) makes Aramaya a pious 
and godly man (but not a prophet). Another pro- 
phet of this period was Zakariya (Zacharias), who 
was the son of Adan, of the children of Dawud and 
the tribe of Juda. He was married to Lishya' 
(Elizabeth), the daughter of 'Imran, and sister of 
Maryam (Mary), the mother of Christ. 'Imran, 
who was the son of Maran Ben Yo'akim, was also 
a descendant of Dawud. The name of the mother 
of Lishya' (Elizabeth), and of Maryam,, was Han- 
nah. Elizabeth gave birth to Yahya (John), who 
was the cousin of Christ. His father Zakariya was 
a carpenter. The Jews spread the rumour that he 
had ravaged Maryam, and put him to death. When 

time (xxxviii.) with Isma'iland el-Yasa' (Elisha), so that one may 
infer that he is a Hebrew prophet who received this name from 
some action or event, as Jonas was called Dul-Nun, from the 
fish which swallowed him. Sale adds the following note to the 
second passage of the Koran: " Al-Beidawi here takes notice 
of another tradition concerning this prophet ; viz., that he enter- 
tained and took care of a hundred Israelites, who fled to him 
from a certain slaughter; from which action he probably had 
the name Dul-Kifl given him; the primary signification of the 
word cafala being to maintain, or take care of another. If a 
conjecture might be founded on this tradition, I should fancy the 
person intended was Obadiah, the governor of Ahab's house." 
* About el-Khidhr see page 90 of this volume. 


he was aware of their intention, he took refuge in 
a tree, and hid himself in its cavity ; but Satan, the 
enemy of God, pointed him out to them. They 
split the tree in which he was, and cut him to 
pieces in so doing. When Elizabeth, the sister of 
Maryam, the mother of Christ, had given birth to 
Yahya Ben Zakariya, she took flight with her child 
from some king to Egypt. 

When he had grown up God sent him to the 
children of Israel. He preached to them what God 
has commanded and forbidden, and they put him 
to death. There were many rebellions* amongst 
the Israelites. God sent, therefore,, a king, of the 
name of Hardush (Herodes), from the East. Under 
him the righteous men had the same fate as Yahya, 
the son of Zakariya; and it was only after long 
troubles, that he put a stop to shedding blood. 

When Maryam was seventeen years of age God 
sent the angel Gabriel to her, and he breathed the 
spirit into her. She was with child of the Masih, 
Jesus the son of Maryam, and she gave him birth 
in a country town,, called Beit Lehm, which is some 
miles from Jerusalem. This was in the twenty- 
fourth of the first Kanun. His history is related 

The copy of Leyden bears ^ 
There were many traditions among the Israelites." 


by God in the Koran*, and the Christians believe 
that Jesus observed the old religion of his nation. 
He read (lectured on) the Pentateuch and other 
ancient books for twenty-nine or thirty years, at 
Tiberias, in the province of the Jordan, in a syna- 
gogue called el-Madras u^JsJU. A certain day he 
was reading the Book of the prophet Esaias, and 
he saw in it the passage, "Thou art my prophet and 
my elect: I have chosen thee for me:" he closed the 
book, gave it to the minister of the synagogue, 
and went out saying, " The word of God is now 
fulfilled in the Son of Manf." Some say Christ 
lived in a town called Nasarah (Nazareth), in the 
district of el-Lajjun ^^.J^, in the province of the 
Jordan. Hence the Christians have (in Arabic) 
the name Nasraniyah lo^A^U I have visited that 
church: it is in high veneration with the Christians. 
There are some coffins of stone, with dead bodies 

in them, from which oil comes out, of the consis- 

~ j 
tency of the inspissated juice of fruits (Roob v^0> 

in which the Christians find their blessing. 

The Masih came to the lake of Tiberias, where 
he found some fishermen, who were the sons of 
Zabada, and some fullers. Matta (Matthew), Yo- 
hanna (John), Markush (Mark), and Luka (Luke), 

* In the third Surah, and passim. 
t Lukeiv. 1621. 


are the four apostles who wrote the Gospel, and 
preserved the history of the Masih: they have 
related in it his birth and his baptism by Yahya 
Ben Zakariya, who is called John Baptist ^.^ 
tXfrxJJ, in the lake of Tiberias, from which the water 
runs into the Jordan ; the wonders wrought through 
him, the miracles with which God honoured him, 
and how the Jews treated him, till he ascended into 
heaven, when he was thirty-three years of age. 

There are long accounts of the Masih, Mary am, 
and Yusof the carpenter, in the Gospel, which we 
forbear inserting; for God does not mention them 
(in the Koran), nor has his prophet Mohammed 
related them. 



Those who lived in the Fatrah ; that is to say, in the 
time between Christ and Mohammed. 

EL-MAS'UDI says, many persons who lived between 
Christ and Mohammed, in the Fatrah, professed 
the unity of God, and believed that he sends (pro- 
phets). But whether there has been a prophet 
amongst them or not is controverted. Some allege 
that Hantalah Ben Safwan ^yu* ^^ XXk;^, who 
was a descendant of Isma'il Ben Ibrahim, has been 
a prophet, and was sent to the Ashab er-Rass*, 

The Ashab er-Rass are brought forward 
as an example in the Koran (xxv. 40), together with the 'Adites 
and Themudites, as a nation, who have been punished for not 
having listened to their prophet. The commentators of the 
Koran conceive ashab to mean inhabitants^ and believe, therefore, 
er-Rass to be a town. They have, however, been so much at a 
loss to find the site of this town, that they thought it might be on 
the river er-Rass, or the Araxes of the ancients I Now sahib 
hardly ever means inhabitants. El-Fairuzabadi (p. 763) gives 
the following opinion : " Er-Rass is the name of a well of rem- 
nants of the Themudites, in which they smothered \y^ their 
prophet, not believing on him." This leads me to think that 
rass is to be taken as an infinitive, and ashab er-rass to be 
rendered by smotherers. 


who were equally descended from Isma'il, and 
divided into two tribes, one of which was called 

o * 

Kodman ^LctXS, and the other Yamin (^-j-<^> or 
Ra'wil J^y^j? both of which were in Yemen. When 
Hantalah Ben Safwan rose amongst them, by the 
command of God, they killed him. A prophet of 
the children of Israel, of the tribe of Juda, received 
therefore the revelation of God, that Bohkta Nassar 
would march, by divine command, against them : 
and he vanquished them. To this allude the words 
of God: " When they felt our strength, they were 
agitated .... dying and perishing." It is 
said that they were Himyarites, and this is sup- 
ported by one of their (Himyarite) poets in an 

" My eyes flow in tears for the Ashab er-Rass, 
the Ra'wil, and Kodman: the punishment which 
the tribe of the Kahtanites suffered caused those to 
submit to God who had refused to do so." 

It is stated on the authority of Wahb Ben 
Monabbih that Dul-Karnein, who is the same per- 
son with Alexander*, lived after Christ, in the 

* Other passages of this work evince an intimate acquaintance 
of el-Mas'udi with the history of Alexander the Great, and the 
Alexandrian era. But it is the habit of Arabic historians, and 
particularly with our author, to give the different traditions which 
they have received literally as they heard them, even if they 


Fatrah. He had a vision, in which he saw himself 
so near the sun that he seized its two extremities 
^/JjjtM, the eastern and western. He related this 
dream to his people, and they called him " One who 
has both horns" (or sides of the sun) ^jjtt^i. 
Many different opinions respecting him have been 
advanced, which are to be found in our works, the 
Akhbar ez-zeman and the Kitab el-ausat, and we 
shall give a view of his history in those chapters 
of this book which treat on the Greek and Byzan- 
tine sovereigns. 

In the same way the historians do not agree on 
the men of the grotto (the Seven Sleepers): some 
say they lived in the Fatrah ; others think other- 
wise. We shall insert a concise account of their 
history in the (twenty-eighth) chapter on the Roman 
emperors in this book. For the rest we have 
their adventures related in the Kitab el-ausat, and in 
the work which preceded it, the Akhbar ez-zeman. 

One of the persons who lived after Christ, in 
the Fatrah, was George UMA^S*. His birth fell 

should be convinced they are not true. Here he states, more- 
over, his authority. This anachronism had its origin probably in 
a king of Yemen, who had the name Dul-Karnein from two curls 
of hair, and who was confounded with Alexander, as he had the 
same epithet. I shall again speak of this name in the chapter 
on the kings of Yemen. The name Dul-Karnem is mentioned in 
the eighteenth chapter of the Koran. 


within the lifetime of some of the apostles. God 
sent him to the King of el-Mausil, to call him to 
the true religion, and though the king killed him, 
God restored him to life, and sent him a second 
time to him : the king killed him again ; but God 
resuscitated him once more, and sent him a third 
time: now the king burnt him, and threw the ashes 
into the Tigris. God destroyed the king, and all 
his subjects who had followed him. So the story is 
related by believers of the Scriptures, and in the 
books on the beginning and on the biography (of 
Mohammed), by Wahb Ben Monabbih and other 

Another man of the Fatrah was Habib en-Nejjar 
^Ls\M s^*^ wn lived at Antioch, in Syria, where 
there reigned a tyrant, who worshipped idols and 
images. Two disciples of the Masih went to him, 
to call him to God. He imprisoned and ill-treated 
them, till they were aided by God, who sent a third 
man. Who he was is controverted; but most 
authors say that he was Peter, which is the Greek 
name of the apostle who is called Sim'an w lx~> in 
Arabic, and Sham'iin in Syriac. This is Sham'un 
the brasser. 

But many historians and the Christians of all 
sects are of opinion, that the third apostle, through 
whom they were aided, was Paul, and the two 
others who had been committed to prison, were 
Thomas and Peter. They had a long interview 



with the king, showing him miracles and proofs: 
they healed those born blind, and the lepers, and 
restored the dead to life. Paul succeeded in ob- 
taining an audience: he gained his favour, and the 
king set free his two colleagues from prison. Habib 
en-Nejjar* came, and he believed on them when 
he had seen their signs. God relates this in the 
Koran t, in the words, " When we sent two men to 
them; but they charged them with imposture. 
Wherefore we strengthened them with a third one," 
&c., down to the words " a man came in haste." 

Peter and Paul were killed in Rome. Many 
persons relate that they were crucified with their 
heads downwards, after they had been a long time 
in contact with the emperor and Saiman ^^ 0$*) 
the sorcerer^. After the Christian religion had 
become victorious, they were laid in a coffin of 
crystal, and deposited in a church of that city. 

We have related this in oar Kitab el-ausat 
where we speak of the curiosities of Rome, and 
where we trace the history of the disciples of 
Christ, and their dispersion over the earth. We 

* A mosque in the middle of the market of Antioch, sacred 
to this Habib, was much visited by pilgrims at the time of el- 
Kazwini ( Athar el-bilad). 

f Surah xxxvi., from verse 13 to 19. 

t Simon Magus, to whose aeronautics the prayers of St. 
Peter made a fatal end. 


shall exhibit a summary of their history in this 

The contrivers of the pit* ^J^i ^->\^\ lived 

* An allusion to this story being found in the Koran, it is 
related in the commentaries to that book, and almost in every 
Arabic work on geography. But modern authors enrich it with 
edifying additions and pious alterations. 

The fact, as it is related by our author, is historical, and 
happened in 522 A.D. The heroism of a Najranite matron, and 
of a boy who threw himself into the flames, gave rise naturally 
to the popular tradition of the miracle which el-Mas'udi relates, 
and to which Mohammed alluded three hundred years before 

Baronius (Annal. Eccl. ; Lucas 1741, Tom. ix., pp. 309 et 
seq. ad annum 522 et 523) reproduces the acta St. Aretha* 
martyris, who was the chief of the Najranites. These acta are 
exceedingly curious; and to judge from the spirit in which they 
are written, I feel confident they come from the pen of an Arab, 
and were possibly originally composed in that language. This 
would be an important addition to the history of the civilization 
of the Arabs. The frequent allusions to the Scriptures evince 
an intimate acquaintance of the author with the Bible. Lam- 
beccius speaks for the rest of another work which exists in the 
emperor's library at Vienna, and which was written in Tifar 
.lili at this period, and may serve as a proof of the literary 
activity of the Arabs before Mohammed : it has the title " Abrahii 
regis Homeritarum leges a St. Gregentio Tapharensi Episcopo 

The persecution of the Najranite Christians, and the conquest 
of the Abyssinians, are also mentioned by Procopius (De bello 
Persico i., 20), Cedrenus (ad annum 522), Zonaras, Nicephorus, 

K 2 


also in the time of the Fatrah, in the capital of 
Najran, in Yemen, during the reign of Du 

&c. Comparing the Arabic accounts with the Greek authors, it 
is possible the fact was this. 

Najran was favoured by nature, and so famous since ancient 
times, that it seems to have formed one of the objects of the 
invasion of JElius Gallus. The inhabitants, ever anxious, as it 
seems, to lead the Bedouins to their interests, raised a temple in 
opposition to the Ka'bah of Mekka, which was called the Ka'bah 
of Najran, in order to attract pilgrims. But it seems that they 
did not fully succeed, since the town is not mentioned amongst 
the markets of the Arabs. This failure is to be accounted for by 
their situation between Mekka and San'a, both of which were 
sacred by age and many popular traditions, acknowledged by 
habit, and the one protected by the league of the Modhar tribes, 
whose centre it was, whilst the other was the capital of all the 
Himyarite tribes: hence the tenets of the Arians, which were 
preached to them by a monk in the fourth century of the 
Christian era, were welcome to them, as they condemned the 
black stone and the idols of the Ka'bah, to which the Korai'shites 
owed their power, and gave them hope to come to the possession 
of the Ghomdan at San'a. The sacred well of this Capitolium 
reminds one of the Zemzem ; and the four sides, painted in white, 
red, yellow, and green, seem to have the same origin as the 
Ka'bah (i.e., square building), of which there were several in 
Arabia, besides that of Mekka; and, although the Ghomdan was 
chiefly sacred to the planet Venus, the seven stories, or roofs, 
imply a clear allusion to the seven planets. 

The mystifications of Arianism, however, made no impression 
upon the sound minds of the Bedouins. The Najranites sought, 
therefore, in treason what they had in vain contended for through 
enslaving their minds; and it is allowed by Christian authors that 


Nowas*, who killed Du Shenatirf yU-fc ^. He 
was a Jew: and having heard that there were fol- 
lowers of the religion of the Messiah in Najran, he 
came himself there, sank pits in the ground, filled 
them with glowing fire, and called the inhabitants 
to the Jewish religion: those who followed him 
were free; but those who refused to obey were 
thrown into the fire. There came a woman, with a 
child of seven months, who refused to abjure her 

they had betrayed their country to the King of Abyssinia, 
" Dunaanus (Du Nowas) rex, tarn, ut genus Christianorum 
vexaret, quam, ut Eleslaano regi ^Ethiopum molestiam crearet, 
graviter afflixit cives urbis Nagran in Homeritide sitse, cui pra3- 
fectus erat St. Arethas." 

Dii Nowas, was Lord of Phare, which is spelt Taphar in an 
ancient Greek Menologium, quoted by Pagius ; so that there can 
be no doubt but that Tifar JJ& is meant. He professed the 
Jewish religion; for the law of Moses had found many prose- 
lytes in Arabia by its sublime simplicity; and being the protector 
of Yemen, he was of course obliged to check the conduct of the 
Najranites, and decided to eradicate the evil which was owing 
to their religion. But the /Ethiopians revenged the blood of 
their brethren, and took possession of Arabia, until a reaction 
took place, in which the Persians were called in. 

* Du Nowas means the man with the curl, for he had a black 
curl hanging over his back. 

t Du Shenatir means the man with ear-rings, shenatir being 
the Himyarite word for ear-ring 3&j.i'. El-Fairuzabadi says, 
Du Shenatir had this surname, because he had one finger too many. 
His proper name was Lakhti'ah XxxAiL . 


religion. She was taken to the fire, and when she 
was frightened God gave speech to the child, and 
it said, "Go on, mother, in thy faith; thou wilt 
not meet a fire after this." They were both thrown 
into the fire. They were true believers, professing 
the unity of God, and did not belong to the 
Christian creed of this age (who profess the trinity). 
Shocked at these cruelties, a man of the name of 
Du Tha'leban* j,UX*S' ^ ( 6 Ubm) went to 
Caesar to ask him for his aid. The emperor wrote 
to the Nejashi (the king of Abyssinia) about the case, 
as he was nearer. This gave origin to the invasion 
of the Abyssinians in Yemen, who kept this country 
in subjection till (Yusoff ) Du Yasan ^y*j* solicited 
the assistance of several kings, which was at last 
granted to him by Anushirwan, as we have de- 
scribed in our books, the Akhbar ez-zeman and the 
Kitab el-ausat; and we shall give a summary of 
these events in the (forty-third) chapter, where we 
speak on the Adwa^ and kings of Yemen. The story 
of the contrivers of the pit is mentioned in the 

* Procopius gives him the name Kais. 

f The name Yusof is only in the Cambridge copy. Yazan 
is a Wadi (in Yemen), and Du Yazan a Himyarite king who was 
in possession of this Wadi. (Kamus, p. 1 81 6.) 

I Adwa \j&\ is the plural of Du, and means literally pos- 
sessed of: here it implies the chiefs whose surnames began with 


Koran*, from the words, "Killed are the con- 
trivers of the pit/' to the words, "They had 
nothing to revenge on them but their belief on the 
almighty and glorious God." 

Khaled Ben Sinan el-Absi lived also in the 
Fatrah: his full name was Khaled Ben Sinan 
Ben'Ayyath (Ghaith?) Ben J Abs ^U- ^ ^ 
y^xc ^ dvx ^>. He has been mentioned by 
the Prophetf, who says, "" There was a prophet 
who has been destroyed by his nation." The story 
is this : a fire rose in Arabia, and caused a great 
commotion and disturbances amongst the Arabs; 
so that fire-worship was making its way amongst 
them. Khaled took a club, and struck on the fire, 
exclaiming, "Begin! begin! every grace from God 
alone we win : I enter the flames, and they blaze 
high; I come out from them, and my reward is 
nigh^:" and he extinguished the fire. When he 
was dying, he said to his brothers, " When I am 

* Surah Ixxxv., from the fourth to the eighth verse. 

t When the Beni 'Abs sent delegates to Mohammed he 
seems jiot yet to have been aware of Khaled's death ; so that it 
appears this religious commotion was contemporaneous with Mo- 
hammed. (Siyar el-Halebi, Cairo, 1248, A.H. p. 378.) 

J The copies differ materially; I followed this reading: 

JJ (read 


buried, a herd of wild asses, of the Himyarites, will 
come, and an ass without a tail, who goes in front 
of them, will kick with his hoof on my grave. 
When you see that, open the grave, for I shall 
come forth from it, and give you information about 
everything." When they had buried him, they 
saw what he had foretold; and they intended to 
take him out. Some of them, however, objected to 
it, and said, " We fear the Arabs will blame us if 
we disturb the rest of the dead." When his daugh- 
ter came to the Prophet, and heard him reciting 
(the words of the Koran): cc Say! he is the only 
God the Eternal," she said, " The same words 
have been used by my father." We shall further 
speak of this man in another part of this book. 

El-Mas'udi says, Riat esh-Shanni &A\ v^L^, 
(tfUJJ v^) li ve d also in the Fatrah: he belonged 
first to the tribe of 'Abd el-Kais*, and then to the 
Shann tribe. He was a believer in the religion of 
the Messiah (?), previous to the mission of Moham- 
med. [They heard a voice from heaven : " Three 
persons on earth are good: Riat esh-Shanni,, 

* 'Abd el-Kais Ben Aksa iS *aS\ /.jj (j*A*H >^ ft was 
the father of a tribe which belonged to the Asad family, and had 
its quarters in el-Bahrain. (Add. MS. of the Brit. Museum, 
7596.) The Abucei of Ptolemy seem to imply this tribe, which 
was very powerful. Shann was also a son of Aksa. 


Bohairah the monk, and another man who is to 
come." By the last the Prophet was meant*.] It 
was observed that the grave of every child of Riat 
was bedewed by a slight rain. 

Another man who lived in the Fatrah was 
As'ad Abu Karib el-Himyarit. He was a believer 
in the Prophet seven hundred years before his 
mission. He said, 

cf I declare that Ahmed is a prophet of God, the 
Creator of life ; and if I was to live to his time I 
should be his Vizier and his nephew." 

He was the first who clad the Ka'ba with 
leather, saying, 

" I clothe the house which is to be sacred by 
the command of God, surrounding it with a rich 
cover of various colours." 

Koss Ben Sa'idah, of the tribe of lyad Ben 
Nizar Ben Ma'add j\y /.^ <iL>J ^ sJtcLa ^.j u*o 

* x ** CU^ 0>0 was a philosopher of the Arabs, and 
believed that God sends prophets. It is him who 
said, " Who lives dies, and who dies flies; and all 
what is growing devours what is going." His 
wisdom and intelligence became proverbial. El- 

* This sentence is only in the copy of Leyden. 
f His full name is L*jXT /.w <-^J" ^\ Xx*t I he 
was the middle Tobba'. 


A'sha ,<&fi5M says, " Wiser * than Koss, and 
braver than the inmate of the cavern, in the thick 
wood at Khaffan" (i.e. the lion). 

There came delegates from lyad to the Pro- 
phet, and he asked them about Koss. They 
replied that he was dead; and Mohammed said, 
'" It is as if I saw him in the fair of 'Okatf l&Ke: 
he was sitting on a red camel,, and said, ' O people! 
assemble, hear, and cry, Who lives dies, and who 
dies flies; and what is growing devours what is 
going. But then, the heaven gives us information, 

* El-Mas'udf writes y^Jj A, +.s\ ; but the saying seems to 
have been (Jf Jf ^ t^k^J. See el-Mai'dani, vol. i. p. 467, and 
p. 189; and D'Herbelot. 

t 'Okat is the fair in the open country between Nakhlah 
XX=? and et-Tayif. It began in the new moon of Dul-Ki'dah 
and lasted twenty days. The Arabic tribes used to assemble 
there to recite their poetries, each tribe boasting of their glory 
^^TlxAj. From this fair the 'Okati leather has its name. 
The Arabs used also to ransom their prisoners at 'Okat, to pay 
the price of blood, and to settle their quarrels before an arbitrator 
*J*Ls., that the pilgrimage to which they proceeded from 'Okat 
might be a ceremony of national unanimity and peace. (MS. of 
the Brit. Museum, 7353.) The words j^' ^ *-! seem to 
refer to arbitration ; for en-Nowairi informs us that he used to say, 

the prosecutor .^cjJ ^ is to bring evidence, and the defendant, 
if he denies the charge, is to swear. Hence it would appear that 
he acted as arbitrator. Perhaps I ought to have translated the 
above words, " a better arbitrator than Koss. 


and the earth calls us to contemplation : the seas 
raise waves, and the stars set: the roof (of the 
heavens) is raised, and the ground (of the earth) is 
firmly placed*.' Koss swore by God: ' There is a 
faith which is more acceptable to the Lord than 
your religion. What may be the reason that men 
pass away, and do not return ? Do they like to be 
there? or have they ended, and do they sleep? 
They all go the same way, although their actions 
are different/ He said (continued the Prophet) 
some verses, which I have forgotten." 

Abu Bekr es-Sadik rose, and said, " I recollect 
those verses, O Prophet of God ;" and he recited 
them thus : 

" We have an example in the famous men who 
passed before us, since I observe they went towards 
death without resistance. I observed the same in 
my contemporaries: they fade, great and little. 


(p. 137 MS. of Leyden, N. 273) quotes these words of Koss, 
adding, ^\ &\* ^l^^ ^ ^ j^'j ^ 'if^'f 

The solemn protestation which follows begins in en-Nowa'iri, 
"If there was pleasure on earth, we should have to expect 
sorrow after this life. There is a faith, &c." These words 
explain the meaning of the sentences which follow. 


He who is gone will never return ; and those who 
are still alive will not remain behind. I am sure 
no exception will be made where they all go to*. 

The Prophet said, ' l God may be merciful to Koss, 
and I hope he will honour him with his bounty." 

El-Mas'udi says, Koss made himself known by 
many poems, sentences of wisdom, and distin- 
guished actions, for an account of which we refer 
our readers to our book., the Akhbar ez-zeman and 
Kitab el-ausat, where we have also spoken of his 
researches in medicine and soothsaying from birds 
and other omens, and his knowledge in other 
branches of natural philosophy . 

Another famous man of the Fatrah was Zeid 
Ben 'Amr Ben Nofai'l ,>/ju ^j ^^^ ^j Abu 
Za'id, the son of Zeid Joj ^...j *XA*** ^.j!, was one of 
the Tenf (whom Mohammed had promised that 
they would enter the Paradise) , and the nephew of 
'Omar Ben el-Khattab. Being against idolatry, he 
expressed freely his opinion. El-Khattab informed 
the ignorant of Mekka about it, and gave him into 

* Death is the phenomenon which calls man to reflexion, 
although he may still live in that happy social state in which his 
vital spirits are healthy enough to enjoy the present, regardless of 
the past and future : hence elegies of this character are frequent 
amongst the Bedouins, and their tunes are melancholy. A beau- 
tiful specimen is in the Hamasa, p. 44. 

f He must mean Sa'd. See Reiske's note to Abulfeda, 
Annales Muslemici, vol. i. to p. 245. 


their power. They persecuted him, and he took 
up his abode in a cavern, in Hera *Jj*. He came 
secretly to Mekka, whence he took flight to Syria ; 
and there he continued his speculations on religion, 
till he was poisoned by the Christians. He died 
in Syria. There passed several things between 
him, the king, and the interpreter, and between 
him and some Ghasanite king, at Damascus, which 
we have related in our former works. 

Omaiyah Ben Abi-s-Salt eth-Thakefi ^ **\ 
c/j&Jt <rJUfili j.\ f is also a man who made himself 
known in the Fatrah : he was a poet, and a very 
sound man. Being in commercial connexions with 
Syria, he met there with the believers in revelation, 
both Jews and Christians: he read himself their 
(sacred) books, and knew that a prophet would 
rise amongst the Arabs. In several poems he treats 
on the ideas of the followers of religion, describing 
the heavens and earth, sun and moon, angels and 
prophets. He celebrates also the prophetic mis- 
sion, the resurrection of the dead, the Paradise, and 
hell. He sang hymns to God, acknowledging his 
unity, as in the words : 

* This is a mount three miles from Mekka, which was a 

favourite summer residence of Mohammed. 
&^j s *.*. 

t X<w\ is the diminutive form of JLoJ (a female slave), and 

tl^JuaH is the man famous in single combat. (Hamasa, p. 776 ; 
compare p. 354.) 

142 EL-MAs'uni's MEADOWS OF GOLD, 

"Praise be to God. None is like him; and 
who does not profess this truth is unjust against 

The following terms express his idea of the 
Paradise : 

" There is no idle talk, no sinful action, nor do 
they contend for fame. This is their eternal home." 

When he had heard of the mission of the 
Prophet he was full of anger and indignation, he 
came however to Medina, in order to become a 
Moslem, but envy made him alter his resolution and 
he returned to et-Tayif. One day when he was 
with a girl at a drinking party, a raven came, uttered 
three sounds, and flew a way again. Omaiyah asked, 
" Do you know what the raven said?" they replied, 
" No." He announced that Omaiyah would not 
drink a third cup before he would die. The party 
expressed that it was not true, but he continued, 
" Take your cups;" and when the third cup came 
to Omaiyah he fainted away, and gave a long time 
no signs of life. Then he said, tl I am at your 
service ! at your service ! You call me to you. I 
am of those who have experienced grace and not 
returned the praise of thanksgiving. If thou par- 
donest, O God, thou wilt forgive all; for where hast 
thou a servant who has not done wrong? " Then he 
said the following verses: 

" The day of judgment is a serious day; and to 
think on this day must make the young grey. 


(i Would to heaven I had been a shepherd of 
wild goats, on the summits of mountains, before it 
comes to me. 

" Every life is short, even should it last an age 
before it ends." 

After he had said these verses he sighed, and in 
this sigh departed his soul. 

El-Mas'udi says, antiquarians well versed in the 

battle days of the Arabs, and in the history of past 

times, like Ben Dab ^te (^1 (v^ W0 a l"Haithern 

Ben 'Adi, Abu Mikhnaf Lut Ben Yahya and Mo- 
hammed Ben es-Sayib el-Kelbi c^vKM -vA***M <^j^ **^ 
state that the following story was the origin of the 
habit of the Koraishites to put "In thy name, O 
my God," on the head of their writings. Omaiyah 
Ben Abi-s-Salt, the Thakefite, went with a num- 
ber of persons of his tribe and others to Syria. 
On the return of the caravan they halted in 
some station, and as they were assembled at their 
supper, a little serpent made its appearance and 
approached to them. One amongst them threw 
sand on its face,, and the serpent went back again. 
They made themselves ready for the journey, packed 
the camels, and set out from the station. A short 
distance from it an old woman came from a sand- 
hill leaning on a stick, and said, " Why have you 
not been kind enough to feed an orphan girl who 
came to you at supper?" They asked her, "Who 


art thou?" She answered, " I am the mother of 
the creeper. You shall either perish in some years, 
or by the Lord, you shall err, dispersed through 
the country." Then she struck with her stick on 
the ground and said, stirring up the sand, " Long 
be to their homes the way, and their animals shall 
run away ! " The camels became shy as if every one 
of them had a Satan on its back; nothing could 
keep them and they dispersed in the wadi. We were 
occupied in gathering them from the end of the day 
to the next morning, and we hardly succeeded in 
bringing them together. When we made them 
kneel down to receive their burthens to continue 
our journey, the woman made again her appearance,, 
did with her stick as on the first time, repeating the 
same words; the camels became shy, and we were 
by no means able to keep them. The next day we 
attempted again to collect them and to pack them, 
but the woman came once more, and having done 
as on the first and second times, the camels ran again 
away. The next night at moonlight, we were in 
despair for our animals of burthen JQ&\, and we said 
to Omai'yah Ben Abi-s-Salt, " What hast thou to say 
on our situation?" He went up the sand hill from 
which the woman came, and having gone down on 
the other side of the hill he climbed up another, and 
after he had descended from that hill, he saw a 
Christian chapel in which candles were burning, and 
a man with white hair and beard was laying on his 


side across the entrance. "When I stood before 
him," continues Omaiyah in his tale, " he raised 
his head, saying, ' Hast thou a follower?' I 
answered, ' Yes/ He asked further, 'From whence 
does thy companion speak to thee?' I replied, 
' From my left ear.' He enquired about the colour 
of his dress, and I answered, 'He is in black.' 
1 This is the habit of the Genii, thou dost better not 
do so. In this affair one speaks to the right ear 
and the most desirable dress is white. But what 
do you want?' I told him the story of the old 
woman, and he said in answer, * Thou speakest 
truth. But she is not true. She is a Jewish 
woman, whose husband perished many years ago, 
she will go on playing the same trick to you, 
and she will destroy you if she can.' Omaiyah said, 
* How can we get out of it?' He answered, 
' Assemble your camels, and if she comes and does 
what she has done, say seven times in a high voice, 
and seven times in a low voice, " In thy name,, O 
God!" and she will not be able to do you any 
harm. ' '- 

Omaiyah returned to the caravan, and related 
there what he had heard. The old woman came 
and did as she had done on former occasions, and 
he pronounced seven times in a high voice, and 
seven times in a low voice, " In thy name, O God." 
After that the camels did not move. The woman 
said, " I know your man, he is white at the top and 



black at the bottom." They continued their journey ; 
and the next morning they saw that Omai'yah was 
attacked with leprosy on his face, neck,, and chest, 
whilst the lower part of his body was black. When 
they came to Mekka they related this event, and 
the inhabitants of that city began to put at the 
head of their writings, " In thy name,, our God 
l*$Xn jC***lj" This formula was in use till the 
Islam was introduced ; then it was replaced by the 
formula, "In the name of the merciful, clement 

Omai'yah had several adventures besides this, 
which we have related in our Akhbar ez-zeman and 
other works. 

Warakah (Warikah) Ben Naufel Ben Asad 
Ben Abdul-' Ozza Ben Kosai'y ^.^ JJ^j (J j r j XS^ 
^A^i* ^j <fy*JJ *XAC ^j *x^, the uncle of Khadijah, 
the daughter of Khowai'lid, the wife of the Prophet, 
lived also in the Fatrah. The perusal of the Scrip- 
tures led him to enter into discussions, for he was 
anxious to pick up knowledge, and to shake off 
idolatry. He informed Khadijah that Mohammed 
would be the Prophet of the Arabic nation, but that 
he would be ill-treated and disclaimed as a story- 
teller. He met the Prophet, and said to him, " O 
my cousin (dear friend), be firm in thy career, and 
by him, in whose hand is the soul of Warakah, 
thou art the Prophet of this nation. Thou wilt be 
ill-treated, and called a liar. They will drive thee 


out from thy house, and fight against thee. My only 
wish is to be still alive then, that I could lend my 
aid to the cause of God." 

It is controverted whether he died as a Christian 
or as a Moslim ; for some authors say that he was no 
more alive when Mohammed entered his prophetic 
office, whilst others bring forward the following 
words, which he said in praise of Mohammed: 

" He is mild, forgiving, and never revengeful, 
refraining anger and bitter feelings when he receives 

Another man who lived in the Fatrah was 
'Odasah, a freed slave of 'Otbah Ben Ilabi'ah 
Syujj Cj^ *^ c ** *~^*xc *, who was a native of 
Ninive ; and he met the Prophet at et-Tayif, when 
he was come there to preach the Islam to that 
town. He had, on this occasion, long discussions 
with the inhabitants, in the palm-grove. Although 
he had acknowledged the Prophet, he fell as a 
Christian in the battle of Bedr. 

o ^ 

Abu Kais Sarmah Ben Abi Anas &*j& y^/Jf ^\ 
was one f the Ansar belonging to 

* 'Otbah was the father of Hind, Mo'awiyah's mother. 

t The author of the Kamus (p. 1650) seems not to be very 

J O 

sure about this name; he says, /.wl 3! iy*t? ( ?i *-y^ 
2Loj40 ji\ j\ (jMJt J-t i*yi\ ^ (J*^^ Hence I preferred the 

pronunciation marked in the copy of Leyden. 

L 2 


the Beni en-Nejjar ^ls\M- He devoted himself to 
an abstemious life, dressed in rough clothes, and 
disapproved of idolatry, consecrating the house in 
which he lived to a chapel, from which menstruat- 
ing women and polluted persons were excluded ; 
and he professed to worship the God of Ibrahim. 
When the Prophet came to Medinah, he embraced 
the Islam, and proved a good Moslim. For him 
the verse of the Koran * was revealed which is 
called^snJJ xt (the verse of the day-break J, which 
runs, u Eat and drink, until you can plainly dis- 
tinguish a white thread from a black thread by the 
day-break." The following words on Mohammed 
have been said by him : ' ' There lives a number of 
ten persons amongst the Koraishites who are visit- 
ing Mekka, to see whether they find a man who 
loves truth." 

Abu 'Amir el-Ausi, whose name was 'Abd 
'Amr Ben Saifi Ben en-No'man, of the Beni 'Amr 
Ben 'Auf, who belong to the el-Aus tribe ^-U ^>\ 

ujW c> **** (jj-^ *)* <&t wno ^ s the same person 
as Abu Hantalahj and has the surname Ghasil el- 

Malayikah xL^I J^^, was a chief, and had lived 
abstemious, in rough clothes, at the time of igno- 

* In the second Surah. 


ranee. When the Prophet came to Medina, he 
had a long conversation with him: subsequently he 
left that city, with fifty slave boys, and died in 
Syria, as a Christian. 

Another man of the Fatrah is 'Abdullah Ben 
Jahsh el-Asadi tf*x*^ (jksi /^j <*MI &*.&. : he was 
of the tribe of Asad Ben Khozai'mah X^iy^, and the 
husband of Omm Habibah, who was the daughter 
of Abi Sofyan Ben Harb, before she was married 
to the Prophet. He had read the Scriptures, and 
inclined to Christianity. When Mohammed had 
entered his prophetic office, he emigrated, with 
other Moslims, to Abyssinia, and with him his wife, 
Omm Habibah. There he apostatized from the 
Islam, and died as a Christian. 


He used to say ^'A^^ USSVAJ t>! that is to 
say,, " We see, and you attempt to open your eyes." 
The expressions of this saying are taken from 
young dogs; for it is said of a dog, when he opens 

the eyes after birth, ^Jij &3 (he opens his eyes) ; 
but if he attempts to open his eyes, and is unable 


to do it, it is said U>U>. After his deatlv, the 
Nijashi (the king of Abyssinia) married Omm 
Habibah, the daughter of Abi Sofyan to the 
Prophet, and gave her a dowry of four hundred 


Bohaira l^os? the monk, lived also in the Fatrah; 
he was a believer on Christ, and his name in 


Christian books is Serjis (Sergius) u*^.**. Bohaira 
was of the Abdulkais tribe. When Mohammed 
went to Syria with Abu Taleb, Abu Bekr, and 
Belal, at an age of thirteen years, on mercantile 
business, they passed by Bohaira, who was sitting 
in his cell, and he recognized the Prophet, com- 
paring his appearance and the signs which he 
bore on him with what he had found in his books, 
and observing the cloud which shaded him whenever 
he sat down. Bohaira received them as guests, 
paid them great respects, and gave them refresh- 
ments. He went forth from his cell to see the seal 
of the prophetship, between the shoulders of the 
Prophet, he placed his hand upon it and believed on 
him. Bohaira informed Abu Bekr and Belal of his 
destination, and he asked him to come back with 
him the same way. He guarded them to be 
watchful for him against the believers on the 
Scriptures. His uncle, Abu Taleb, having received 
this information, returned with him. When he was 
come back from his journey to Mekka, he began his 
acquaintance with Khadijah, and the signs were 
wrought which, together with the account which she 
received of his journey, made her believe that he 
was a prophet. 

El-Mas'iidi says, This is a review of the history 
from the Creation as far as we have followed it up. 
We attended only to those facts which are stated in 
the revelation and related in the books (Scriptures, 


particularly the Koran,) and which have been 
explained by the prophets. Now we shall trace the 
beginning of the kingdoms of the Hindus and 
review briefly their religious speculations, then we 
will follow up the history of other empires, having 
given an account of the history of the Kings of the 
Israelites, as we have found it in the sacred books. 



An abridged account of the Hindus, their religious 
opinions, and the origin of their kingdoms. 

EL-MAS'UDI says, all historians who unite maturity 
of reflexion with depth of research, and who have a 
clear insight into the history of mankind and its 
origin, are unanimous in their opinion, that the 
Hindus have been in the most ancient times that 
portion of the human race which enjoyed the bene- 
fits of peace and wisdom. When men formed 
themselves into bodies, and assembled into commu- 
nities, the Hindus exerted themselves to join them 
with their empire, and to subject their countries, to 
the end that they might be the rulers. The great 
men amongst them said, " We are the beginning 
and end; we are possessed of perfection, pre-emi- 
nence, and completion. All that is valuable and 
important in the life of this world owes its origin to 
us. Let us not permit that anybody shall resist 
or oppose us; let us attack any one who dares to 
draw his sword against us, and his fate will be flight 
or subjection." 

They were prevailed upon by these consider- 


ations to elect a king. He was the highest 
Barahman, the greatest king, and the foremost 
Imam. In his days flourished philosophy, and the 
wise men stood at the head of the nation. They 
extracted iron from the mines, and forged swords, 
daggers, and several sorts of warlike instruments : 
they raised temples, adorned them with precious 
stones of the finest lustre, represented in these tem- 
ples the spheres of the heavens, the twelve zodiacal 
signs, and the stars. They gave by representation 
an idea of the system of the worlds, and went even 
so far as to show by these means the influence of 
the stars on this world, and the way in which they 
produce the different animals, both rational and 
irrational. There was the position of the greatest 
ruler to be seen, that is to say, the SUN. 

The Barahman wrote a book, which contained 
the proofs of all these subjects, and conveyed a 
clear idea of them to the minds of the Exoteric 
J^xJt, whilst he implanted into the minds of the 
Esoteric <_j^iLl the knowledge of what is above all 
that, pointing to him who is the first cause, and 
called all beings to existence, embracing them with 
his bounty. The Hindus obeyed this king. Their 
country was well cultivated, and he made them 
enjoy the utmost of worldly prosperity. 

He assembled the wise men, and they composed 


during his reign the book es-Sind-hind, which 
means ''The last end of the ends*." Upon this 

Ja*sls\j j^^y\ i_AxT <_*XjJ C^ejJ xLejjj&M +&* 

* M. Colebooke( Dissertation on the Algebra of the Hindus,) 
identifies the Sind-hind with the Siddhanta of Brahmegupta, who 
lived about twelve hundred years ago. The meaning of Sind- 
hind, as explained by our author, confirms the identity of the 
two words, for Siddhanta means the perfect end. But the 
Sind-hind in question must be another astronomical work of the 
name of Siddhanta, than that of Brahmegupta; for the Arkand 
and Arjabhar are more ancient than Brahmegupta, whereas they 
are here stated to be derived from the Sind-hind ; besides, it seems 
that the theories here alluded to by el-Mas 'udi are of an earlier 
date than those of Brahmegupta. This is of importance for the 
history of astronomy, and particularly for the history of the dis- 
covery of the precession of the equinox, and the connexion of 
this theory with some ancient chronologies ; for it would appear 
that the Arabs had no original translation of the Siddhanta ; but 
that only the system had been known to them ; and if later authors 
allude to the Sind-hind, the system of the Siddhanta, as laid 
down in the work el-Khowarezmi, which bears the title es-Sind- 
hind, is meant. 

This is clearly stated by the author of the Fihrist, who must 
be considered as the highest authority in these points, on account 
of his exactness in bibliography and proximity in time, having 
written 377 A.H. : ^^Jyu *<**^ **>j& J**' O"^J <j_>^ 
J04 JuuSL ^iJj*^ Jlx!^ b$\ *&j ^c "The astrono- 
mers trusted before and after the observation on his two tables, 
which together were known under the name of Sind-hind." He 
means the tables of Mohammed Ben Musa el-Khowarezmi, who 
was one of the astronomers of el-Mamun. Would they not have 
taken the Siddhanta itself as a standard work, if they had had 
another translation than a paraphrase of a Persian work on this 
system. Compare chapter 126 infra, note. 


book other works are founded, as the Arjab- 

The statement of the Fihrist is further explained and con- 
firmed by el-Kefti (Bibl. Philosoph. MS. of Leyden, No. 159), 
who states, that el-Khowarezmi was a follower of the Sind-hind, 
which was one of the three Hindu systems of astronomy. I 
insert his own words, without correcting the faults, and without 
translation; for I have at this moment no means of verifying the 
proper names which occur in the passage : 

(3"*** (^ * X * :SS 

But if the Arabs have not been in possession of a translation 
of the Siddhanta, how could they be acquainted with the system ? 
Various reasons make us believe that they received it from the 
Persians, whose literary connexion with the Hindus is historically 
proved. First, the theory, as it is exhibited here, seems to be a 
combination of that of Persia and India, as further notes tend to 
show. Second, almost all Arabic astrology comes from the Per- 
sians, and their astronomy was derived from the same source 
previous to the translation of the ^eyia-rr] trvvral-is. For this rea- 
son most terms are borrowed from the Persians, although some 
of them may ultimately be Sanscrit ; and the most early Arabic 
astronomers were natives of such parts of Persia, which had ever 
been famous schools of science, as Balkh, &c., or of Harran. 
Third, Hamzah, of Isfahan, a contemporary of el-Mas'iidi, (apud 
Anquetil Du Perron, torn, ii., p. 352,) refers to a book based upon 


bar* and the Almagest: from the Arjabharthe Ark- 

the Avesta of Zoroaster, which contains a similar theory. " Le 
dieu supreme a fixe a 12,000 ans la vie (la duree) du monde, du 
commencement a la fin. Le monde resta sans mal pendant 3000 
ans, dans sa partie superieure," &c. 

Es-Sind-hind was. therefore, as the above passages unequivo- 
cally prove, at the same time the name of the Siddhanta system of 
astronomy, the only astronomical system of the Hindus known to 
the Arabs; and of an original Arabic work on this system. 
Admitting that it was considered in the first sense as a Sanscrit 
word, meaning the perfect end, I should suppose, in order to 
account for the seemingly arbitrary alteration of the sound, that 
it is in the second sense an imitation of the Sanscrit term in two 
Arabic words, (as the Arabs are very fond of plays on words,) and 

that one ought to read <X*gH <XAJ. J<Ju*Ji means that a tradition 

is mosnad,orthat one can point out the persons through whom it has 
been handed down, up to Mohammed. But the word is also used 
in a similar meaning in other instances, and not only in speaking 
of traditions as, JsJJ jfo U, ^ Vj yJJ iU cAAixJJ U^ 

oV*^ U^ 1 *^ ^4& ft^xM <^*~ ^UajuN). "There is nota 
trace to be found of the philosophical sciences (in the Maghrib,) 
and still less a system, because the continuance of instruction has 
been interrupted by the destruction of civilization." &^\ jj^ 
might therefore mean continuance of (the system) of the Hindus 
or introduction of the Hindu system amongst the Mohammedans. 

Ya'kub Ben Tarik o^Ub /.jj vy^V. wrote a work, in two 
books, the first of which contains the science of the spheres of 
the heaven ; and the second shows how they exercised their influ- 
ence upon the fate of dynasties. He professed to follow the doc- 
trine of the Siddhanta, and calls his work Zij es-Sind-hind. Of a 
more scientific character seems to be the Zij es-Sind-hind of Ibn 
Amahurji^.LcJ, whose full name is Abul-Kasim 'Abdullah Ben 
Amahur. These two authors lived both before the middle of 
the fourth century. 

* This is the name for aryabhatta. The Sanscrit t, it is to be 


and* derives its origin, and from the Almagest the 
book of Ptolemy t, and subsequently the Astrono- 
mical Tables;}: have been based upon them. 

They invented the nine figures which form the 

read) Xx 

remembered, is the character of a peculiar sound often mistaken 
for r, and which the Arabs were likely so to write, rather than 
with a te or a tau. The Hindi t is generally written by the 
English in India with an r ; example, Ber (vatd,*) the Indian fig, 
vulg. Banian tree (Colebrooke ibidem}. 

* Arkand is a corruption of Area, which is still prevalent in 
the vulgar Hindi (Idem^ ibidem). 

f The words, " The Book of Ptolemy," are probably an appo- 
sition to Almagest instead, " which is a book of Ptolemy." In 
this case, the names of the numerous works which owe their 
origin to the Almagest, are left out by the copyist. Not only all 
MSS. of el-Mas'udi, but also the transcript of this passage in 
en-Nowairi (MS. of Leyden, N. 273, p. 956) has this mistake. 
If the words, " The books of Ptolemy," are not an apposition, 
el-Mas'udi must mean the liber quadripartitus of Ptolemy ; 
for he knew perfectly well that the Almagest is the work of 
Ptolemy, and calls him occasionally " the author of the Almagest." 

t Cl>Ls \JJ, sing. f~\'fi\. This word is derived from the 
Persian *\ (a corde), and means the Astronomical Tables upon 
which the Astronomical Kalendar 

is made. From this word &s:!yj is to be distin- 
guished, which is derived from the Persian J-,\ (birth), and 


numeric system of the Hindus*. Barahman was 
the first who explained the apogseon of the sun; 
and stated that the apogseont is three thousand 
years]; in every sign of the Zodiac: at present, 

i_#I S5ULS z^$ J ^ W j*> u"*^J ^ 4 (Jtf 

means the square or circle drawn round the stars in a certain 
region of the heavens by astrologers in casting nativity. (MS. 
of Leyden, N. 514.) 

* The Zero, which is expressed by a dot by the Arabs, is 
not considered as a figure. 

-j- Auj, apogeum, is a term borrowed from the Persian, in this 
language it is written, x.^ or S$\ ug. g>}$\ jfo the orbit 
of the apogeum is the name for the ecliptic, which is also called 
the excentric orbit %TJMjr JULj <j5jM ? because its centre does 
not coincide with the centre of the earth. The period of a revo- 
lution of this orbit is called yuga of the solstice in Sanscrit, hence 
it is very likely that the Persian word ug, is derived from yuga. 
These two words have a great affinity with the Greek mwj/, which 
is to be written with a digamma. It seems that this term 
migrated and changed its meaning with the idea. 

f Siirya Siddhanta, and the herd of Hindu astronomers, 
reckon the motion of trepidation to a degree and a-half in a cen- 
tury; whereas here one degree is reckoned. It is therefore very 
likely that the researches of these astronomers had not been known 
to el-Mas'udi, else he would have taken them up the readier as 
el-Battani had come nearly to the same result about thirty years 
before the Meadows of Gold was written ; computing the motion 
of the stars at a degree in sixty-six years. The period of three 
thousand years is mentioned in the Zend-Avesta, (Boun-Dehesch, 
Paris 1771, torn, ii., pp. 345 and 347). The circumstance 
that el-Mas'udi takes no notice of the corrections of the trepidation 
which had been discovered, is a corroboration of what is said in 
the note, p. 154, supra. 


that is to say, in 332 A.H., it is in the Gemini, 
according to his opinion. When it comes into the 
signs of the southern hemisphere, the face of the 
earth will be changed, and what is now inhabitable 
will turn uninhabitable, * and vice-versa ; for the 
south will be north, and the north south *. He 
deposited the dates of the formation (of the 
planetary system) in a golden house: they form the 
most ancient (astronomical) chronology, and the 

xj ^ 9 

* The Arabs believed the south -pole to be the extreme of 
heat, as the north -pole is the extreme of cold, and they thought 
that it is for this reason that the southern hemisphere is uninhabi- 
table ; and that this would be changed when the apogaeon of the 
sun would be in the southern, and the perigseon in the northern 
hemisphere. Compare the next chapter. 

| These words are only in the copy of Cambridge, and in the 
extract which en-Nowa'iri gives of this passage. 

J One copy bears and, instead of ^ on, which alters 
somewhat the meaning. Other variants of some importance are 
inserted in the text between crotchets. 


basis upon which the Hindus make the kalendars 
(of the changes) of the moon, and calculate the 
rising of the full moon for India; but not for other 
countries. They comment much on the moon; 
but we cannot insert wliat they say on it in this 
book, it being a work on history, and not on philo- 
sophical inquiries and speculations; besides, we 
have given a summary of these subjects in our 
Kitab el-ausat. 

Some Hindus believe that the world is regene- 
rated every thousand Hazarwan*, and that as often as 

U^k } (read 
read) i^\ 

UAxT 6 &\ 


f The MS. of Cambridge and two other copies bear " every 
seventy thousand years of the Hazarwan." As copies do not 
agree, the following correction may be admissible, considering the 
the word thousand put in by the way of exaggeration : " every 
seventy-two Hazarwan." A Hazarwan would mean in this case 
a maha yuga; and the period in question would be a Menu yuga, 
which consists of seventy-two maha yugas, or three hundred 
and eleven million, forty thousand years. (Aryabhatta, apud 


this period expires, existence is renewed*, the pro- 
pagative power returns, quadrupeds again pasture, 

By reading ]&* M#, instead of *JU* year, before Hazar- 
wan as XJu* can have no meaning, and is left out in some copies ; 
the number of years would agree with the time generally assigned 
to the four yugas together, viz., seven millions, six hundred thou- 
sand years, save the number of zeros. 

* This theory was not only familiar to the Hindus and Per- 
sians, but the ages of the world of Greek and Latin poets owe to 
it their origin. According to Plato, in his Timaeus, the Greeks 
had received from the Egyptians the doctrine of the earth's 
undergoing certain dissolutions, effected by the alternate violence 
of water and fire, which were succeeded by regenerations, and 
followed one another periodically. They were called apocatastasis, 
and J. Firmicus computes that there is a period of three hundred 
thousand years, from one mundane apocatastasis to another. In 
an Egyptian narration relative to Osiris and Typhos, preserved 
by Synesius, we find also an allusion to the greater mundane 
apocatastasis. And it is curious that this doctrine was not yet 
lost in Egypt after the conquest of the Arabs. The reader will 
find some extracts from el-Makrizi in the notes to the thirty-first 
chapter, where they are mentioned in the most fabulous shape ; 
but such confirmations teach us to appreciate and explain fables, if 
sacred by antiquity, and the belief of a whole nation. 

It would appear from a tradition of Wahb Ben Monabbih, 
that the ancient Arabs had equally some notions of a periodical 
destruction of the earth, which was effected by water, according to 
their opinions. They supposed, namely, that the fish and the 
bull, who support our planet (see p. 44, supra), swallow up the 



the waters flow, animals creep, herbage grows, and 
breezes breathe through the air. Most of the 
Hindus are of opinion that certain cycles return 
periodically,, beginning through powers* whose cor- 

(read eXxxj 

water till they are full, and then a universal flood would take 

Respecting similar doctrines with the Chinese, the reader may 
consult Bailly, Hist, de 1' Astronomic. 

* These powers are the IDEAS of Plato. Our author adheres 
closely tothe spirit of the Hindus ; for the Arabs, who followed the 
dialetic philosophy, as it is more congenial with the Arabian nation 
and religion, considered the principle of life in matter as a mere form 
of its existence, and used therefore the word 2,*.^ form, in the 
above meaning. In this sense, says Ibn Khaldun, 

" the natural, first and sole reason is, that the dynasty and royalty 
is for civilized society what the form is for matter: it is the 
shape which preserves its existence through its own peculiarity." 

As it appears to be of some importance to have a clear notion 
of the signification of the word ^- <J>, it may not be amiss to 
add examples where it has very nearly the same meaning as in the 
text. XXfeUJt Jult \ (read Sulx&t) V U&1 ^ LJ/i < 

l (Ibn Khaldun's Proleg. in 
the last chapter of the fifth book). 


poreal existence sleeps in latent life; but their 
nature is mighty, and their essence is immutable. 
They define the limits, and fix the time required for 
the process (of the re-incarnation of these powers), 
which forms the great cycle and developement. 
They place it into the abyss of ages, and calculate 
the time from its beginning to the end to thirty-six 
thousand years, repeated in twelve thousand years 
(periods)*. This forms with them the Hazerwan, 

" We have already stated with respect to penmanship, that 
it exists in the rational soul of man as faculty (power), which 
will not be developed from possibility (power) to reality except 
by the introduction of sciences." 

The same author uses this word exactly in the same meaning 
in several other instances as, JjuW JJ s 

^UU ^ vw.UxH wyu, JJ ^ 
" One must know the relation of these quantities in order to be 
able to bring plans into execution, (literally to draw plans out from 
power to reality,) according to certain rules." 

* This gives four hundred and thirty-two millions of years 
If we take two zeros away, we have the number of years assigned 
by Aryabhatta to the maha yuga, and if we add one, we have that 
of the calpa of Brahmegupta. But all MSS. agree, and the 
expression is such, that each of these changes would be arbitrary, 
The one factor, thirty- six thousand, is the anciently supposed time 

M 2 


which developes and influences the powers. The 
(lesser) cycles render everything that exists in 
them longer or shorter (according to the age of the 
world). The life of things is longest at the begin- 
ning of the renovation (or great cycle); for as it is 
just opened, the powers are more free in their 
action; whereas the lives are shortest at the end of 
the renovation, for the cycle is more narrow ; they 
are confined: and the frequent repetitions (of the 

of one re volution of the equinox through the zodiac, and the other 
factor, twelve thousand, expresses the number of an age of the Gods 
according to Menu (Institutes, i. 71), and corresponds with the 
great cycle of the Persians, after which Ormuzd would be 
victorious over Ahriman: perhaps, every one of these years 
has been considered by the Persians, at a later period, as a revo- 
lution of the equinox or thirty- six thousand years; in order to 
make agree the chronology of their sacred books with that of 
Hindu astronomers, just as our geologists make the seven days 
of the creation longer periods of time. This explains the some- 
what singular expression of the original " repeated in twelve 
thousand years ;" for only one copy bears the more natural 
expression, " multiplied." 

There is, therefore, not one date in this theory which is not 
found in the Persian cosmogony, as well as in that of the Hindus. 


incarnation or becoming life of the powers) are 
injurious to the lives; because the powers of the 
bodies and the purity of matter are predominant at 
the beginning of the cycle, and free in their mani- 
festation: for purity is anterior to impurity, and 
limpidity is above the dregs, and the length of life is 
in proportion with the purity of the crasis ; and the 
powers which animate the elements (or matter)., 
extend the influence of their perfection to the mix- 
tures (bodies) which, as they form the wordly 
existence, are the source of deterioration, alteration, 
and decay. But at the latter part of the great 
cycle, and the end of the great developement, the 
appearance of things will be deformed, the souls 
weak, and the crasis impure; the powers are im- 
paired, what is perishable goes to decay, and every- 
thing goes in inverted narrow cycles ; wherefore the 

U * 


space of life is no longer computed by a period of 
ages (but only by years). 

The Hindus assign the reasons upon which the 
theories which we have just given are based. They 
allege proofs on the first origin (of all things), and 
on the distinctions of the cycles of the Hazarwans, 
as we have explained them ; and they teach various 
mysteries and subtilties respecting the soul; its 
connexion with supernatural things, and its origin 
which proceeds in the direction from above down- 
wards ; and other doctrines which have been laid 
down by el-Barahman in the beginning of the time. 

El-Barahman reigned until he died, three hun- 
dred and sixty-six years. His descendants have the 
name Brahmins x$\j^\ up to our time. They 
are in high respect with the Hindus, and form their 
highest caste and their nobility. They abstain from 
all animal food, and men and women wear a yellow 
thread on their necks, which is put on like the belt 


of a sword, as a mark of distinction between them 
and other castes of their nation. 

In ancient time and during the reign of el- 
Barahman, there assembled seven sages (Rishis?) 
of the Hindus, to whom the nation looked up, in 
the golden house; and they said to one another, 
(f Let us unite our speculations to decypher what is 
the state and mystery of this world ; where we come 
from, and where we are going to ; and whether we 
are created from nothing to proceed to the essence of 
wisdom or the reverse ? and whether the Creator who 
is the cause of our existence and who gives growth 
to our bodies, derives any benefit from having made 
us? or whether he averts any disadvantage from 
himself in making us fade from this world? Whe- 
ther he is susceptible of want and diminution as we 
are, or whether nothing influences him? but if so, 
why does he destroy and annihilate us, after he has 
called us to existence, and after we have enjoyed 

The first of 'the sages, to whom all others 
looked up, said,, "Do you find one man who has a 
correct notion of things, present or distant, and 
who is certain and positive (in his knowledge)." 

The second wise man said, " If the wisdom of 
the Almighty had come into any one's mind, it 
would be a diminution of his wisdom. The object 
is incomprehensible, and human reason is too short 
to understand matters." 

The third sage said, " We must begin our study 


with the knowledge of ourselves, for this is the 
thing nearest to us, before we enter into investiga- 
tions of what is distant from ourselves*." 

The fourth sage said, " The experience of every 
man, whatever field he may have chosen, proves 
that he requires in it self-knowledge. " 

The fifth sage said, " Hence it is required to be 
in connexion with wise men, in order to be assisted 
by their wisdom." 

The sixth wise man said, " It is necessary for 
any man who loves his own happiness, not to 
neglect it, particularly since the stay in this world 
is limited, and since it is certain that we must 
leave it." 

The seventh sage said, c< I do not understand 
what you say, but I know that I came into this 
world without my will ; that I lived in it astounded 
with what I see; and that I am sorry to leave it." 

The Hindus agreed at all times respecting the 
opinions of these seven sages. Everybody followed 

* This sentence is not to be understood in the moral meaning, 
that one ought to know one's own frailties, but that man is the 
microcosmos, which, if well understood, leads to the knowledge of 
everything else, or rather, that the human mind is the mirror 

of the universe. 

Quid mirum noscere mundum 

Si possent homines, quibus est et mundus in ipsis ; 
Exemplumque Dei quisquis est in imagine parva? 


F. Hegel believes that the yva>6i atavrov of Solon, is to be 
taken nearly in the same meaning. 


(originally) their doctrines and professed their 
system; but in subsequent times, they no longer 
agreed respecting their systems and doctrines, and 
they split into seventy distinct sects. 

El-Mas'udi says, in the book of Abul-Kasim 
el-Balkhi, called " The Fountains of questions and 
answers," tSUl^i^ JoUJll ^#& and in the work of 
el-Hasan Ben Musa en-Nubakhti * ^^ ^j ( jju^.!, 
which has the title, " On the philosophical and 
religious doctrines and the sects of the Hindus; 
their opinions, the causes which gave rise to them, 
and the reasons why they burn themselves and 
inflict various torments upon themselves ;" v^* 

not a word is said of all we have just 
explained, nor do they allude to the subject on 
which we have spoken. 

Authors do not agree concerning the Barahman: 
some believe him to be Adam and a prophet for 
the Hindus; others think that he was a king, as we 
have stated ; and this is the opinion most universally 

* This patronymic is variously spelt, o&c'JJJt (MS. of 
Cambridge,) CfjvaCyJJ (MS. of Leyden;) <sCa=?yiJl (Fihrist el- 
Kotob, p. 120,) <a$'j%\ (et-Tanbih, fol. 221, verso). Compare 
Chapter 126, infra. 


The Hindus lamented in the deepest mourning, 
the death of the Barahman. They made his eldest 
son king, who had been designed by his father to be 
his successor, and to whom he had given his 
instructions. His name was el-Bahbud ^xfcUU 
(:>y&UJj). He followed the example of his father in 
his government; he had the best views, built new 
temples, invested the wise men with power, 
increased their dignity, encouraged them to teach 
wisdom, and sent them out to acquire it (by 
travelling). He reigned till he died one hundred 
years. In his reign the game of tables or backgam- 
mon* JjxM was invented. This game shows how 
one obtains gain, for it is neither the result of 
sagacity and contrivance, nor is subsistence earned 
by cleverness in this world. Some say Azdeshirf 
Ben Babek invented the game of the tables and 
played it first. He expressed in this game the acti- 
vity of the world and its inhabitants, and the differ- 
ence of their conditions. The twelve points of the 
tables answer to the twelve months of the year, and 
the thirty tablemen <->*& are expressive of the thirty 
days of the month. The dice are meant as symbols 

* T. Hyde wrote a prodigiously learned Historia Nerdiludii, 
which forms the second book of his Historia Shahiludii. 

t r>-JjU The MS. of Leyden which is very correct, writes 
this name constantly with instead of .. Compare the observa- 
tion of Fleischer on this subject, (Abulfeda, p. 206.) 


of fate and the way in which it deals with mankind; 
for the player who is favoured by luck, will attain in 
this game what he wishes, whilst the clever and 
provident is less lucky than another, if the other is 
favoured by fortune ; for gain and good fortune are 
a mere chance in this world. 

After el-Bahbud reigned Ramah st^, ( W U^ or 
^LoJj), about one hundred and fifty years. There 
are different histories and accounts extant of this 
king. He had several wars with the kings of Persia 
and China,, the leading points of which are related in 
our former works. 

After him came Fur ^ (Porus) to the throne. 
Alexander gave him a battle, and killed him in a 
single combat, after a reign of one hundred and 
forty years. Then succeeded Daisalem jJu*oJ 
(fa f UMJ,) who is the author of Kalilah wa Dimnah, 
which has been translated by Ibn el-Mokaffa'. 
Sehl Ben Harun composed a book for el-Mamun, 
entitled " The fox and the boar" a^ic ^ sxXxS ^->\3S, 
in which he imitates the Kalilah wa Dimnah, 
writing on the same heads, and narrating the same 
parables; but his book is superior in beauty of 
style. He reigned one hundred and twenty years. 
Some give a different number of years. 

Then succeeded Balhit dv^Xj (clv^Xj). In his 
reign the game of chess g^ax* was invented, and 
he recommended the play in preference to back- 


gammon, pointing out that the clever is the 
winner, and not the idiot. He studied the numbers 
(of the product of the squares) of this game^ and 
wrote a work* on the subject for the Hindus^ 
which is known under the title Tor ok Hankd ta'idd 

By these means chess became their favourite game, 
and he used to play it with the wise men (of his 
court), and gave to the pieces the figure of men 
and animals, distinguishing them by certain degrees 
and ranks, as the king *1&J, the administrator 
jo*xU (the queen), the officer yMjjJI (the bishop) ; 
similar offices are represented in other pieces. 

He laid also an allegory of the higher bodies in 
the chess, that is to say, of the stars of the heavens, 
observing the number seven and twelve. Every 
piece was consecrated to a star. This game served 
also to preserve the empire ; for whenever they had 
to do with an enemy and the stratagems of war, 
they represented on the chess-board the movements 

of the troops, both light and heavy ^^ J^-U. 
The Hindus have a method in the multiplica- 

* A similar work has been written by the Arabic mathema- 
tician, Abu Yusof el-Missisi] ^aAXOtJij whose full name was 
Ya'kiib Ben Mohammed, under the title O 


tion of the squares of the chess-board, which they 
keep secret. The result of this multiplication is 
a number which exceeds the astronomical dates, 
and those of the first cause, amounting to 
18,446,744,073,709,551,615. The series of the 
thousands is this: the first number is to be pro- 
nounced with six times thousand*, then comes 
thousand five times, then four times,, then three 
times, then twice, then thousand is to be pronoun- 
ced once. 

The Hindus attribute to itf a meaning by 
which one may explain what is to happen in future 
ages and centuries, and the influence which the 
heavenly bodies have on this world ; and by it may 
be predicted how long the human soul is to dwell in 
this world. 

The Greeks, Romans, and other nations, con- 
nect equally various theories with chess t. It is 

* The Arabs, like the Teutonic languages, have no words 
which comprises a higher number than a thousand. They express 
therefore a million by thousand times thousand, and so on with any 
higher number. In order to avoid mistakes, they add at the end 
how often thousand is to be taken or multiplied with itself, as is 
here the case. 

f The author leaves it uncertain whether he means the game 
of chess, or the above number. 

J It seems, indeed, that the game of chess attracted even 
in Europe, a much greater attention in the middle ages than 
at present; as may be exemplified by the existence of some 


played in different ways, as is explained in the 
books written by the Shatrenjees* on this subject, 
by early writers, as well as by es-Suli and el-'Adeli 
J*xx!^ d**A\> wno are the best players in our days. 
Belhith ci^^L reigned till he died, eighty years, 
or, according to other copies (of the work from 
which we derive our account), one hundred and 
thirty years. 

German manuscript, which contains a poem on this subject, in the 
Library of the Arsenal at Paris, (MS. Allem. No. 6). It is a 
thick quarto written in the year 1418, but the author, whose name 
is MICHAEL SCHERER of Strasburg, says himself, that he com- 
posed it in 1337, after a Latin work on the same subject. The 
allegorical meaning of the pieces, moral precepts, and even 
theological disquisitions, form the greater portion of its contents, 
but there are also some curious historical facts related in it. 

The Dutch are in possession of a similar poem of ancient date. 

* As the luxurious Mamun happened to be fond of the chess- 
board, a number of men studied the game and wrote on the 
subject, collecting and inventing traditions to prove that this game 
was permitted, enquiring into the history and fixing the rules to be 
observed in playing. These men were called *^J[a.A\. An 
Arabic work of this nature, by el-Hasan el-Basri, is in Mr. Rich's 
collection in the British Museum in London, (No. 75 15,) but it 
contains no historical facts not found in Hyde's Historia Shahi- 
ludii and Sir W. Jones' works, (vol. i. p. 521.) More curious 
are the details which en-Nowa'iri furnishes on this subject, in his 
Encyclopaedia. On the literary history previous to el-Mas'iidi, 
concerning this subject, as well as any other of which our author 
speaks, the reader may consult the additional notes. 


He was succeeded by Kurush*, who introduced 
new religious ideas amongst the Hindus, as he 
thought them suited to the spirit of the time ; and 
adapted to the tendency of his contemporaries, 
relinquishing former systems. 

In his reign lived es-Sondbad ^L^x^, who is the 
author of the book The seven Vezirs, the teacher and 
boy, and the wife of the king jkx+Wj &***\\ \jj\ <-A^* 
JJJIJ s!j*t* *&*J\j. This is the book which bears the 
name Kitdb es-Sondbdd ^UXJUJ1 v lxf. In the 
library of this king the large work " On pathology 
and therapeutics" CLjW^xU^ * \^\ j J^M AJ^JUJ ^ 
was compiled J^, with drawings and pictures of 
the plants. 

This king reigned till he died, one hundred 
and twenty years. After his death the Hindus 
disagreed in point of religion : they divided them- 
selves into parties, and formed distinct states; and 
every chief made himself independent in his district. 
Es-Sind was ruled by its own king; another king 
reigned in el-Kinnauj; another over Kashmir 
jx^3 yoj\ ; and another resided in the city of el- 
Mankir (Monghir?) j+&&\> which is the great 
metropolis. He was the first who had the name 

* LTJU^* This is the way in which Abulfaragius (Hist- 
dynast, p. 82.) writes the name of Cyrus. En-Nowairi writes 
the name of this Hindu king ni*J" Kush. 


el-Ballahra c^XxM (^JuJ\), which became subse- 
quently the title of every sovereign of that great 
capital, down to our time, which is the year 
332 A.H. 

India * is a vast country, having many seas and 

0j\ Literally, the country of the Hindus, which, it 
must be remembered, comprizes only the south and east of the 
peninsula : whereas the north-eastern part is called by the Arabs, 
the country of the Sind nation. 

As in the translation the name of the country in most cases 
is substituted for expressions like bilad es-Sin, (the dominions of 
the Chinese,) ardh er-Rum, (the country of the Byzantines,) 
memlekat el-Jelalikah, (the kingdom of the Galicians,) &c.: it is 
well to notice the peculiarity of the Arabs in this respect, which 
is characteristic, and which may also be observed in Genesis. 

As we adapt our notions of others to our own ideas as pro- 
duced by circumstances and education, just as the hump-backed 
will paint every body with a hunch; the wandering- Arabs 
who have no country, being solely connected by the feelings and 
pride of their tribes Xxxxax!!, cannot conceive how any nation 
can be so degraded as to be dependent upon a country or any 
other possession : they estimate the honesty and value of a man 
after what he is, and not (as it is the case in modern legislation,) 
after what he possesses. Hence they consider the name of every 
country as that of a tribe, and are most anxious to find out or 
to invent the genealogy of the patriarch (father) of such a tribe, 
as they know the ancestors of their own tribes ; so, for instance, 
they received from the Persians the name of Chin ^>~, which 
means China (the country), but the Arabs consider it as the 
name of the father of the nation (tribe), and consequently of the 


mountains, and borders on the empire of ez-Zanij, 
which is the kingdom of the Maharaj g|j$U the 
king of the islands, whose dominions form the 
frontier between India and China, and are con- 
sidered as part of India. 

The Hindu nation extends from the mountains 
of Khorasan and of es-Sind as far as et-Tubbet. 
But there prevails a great difference of feelings, 

nation itself; and they called the country the territory of the 
Fin or Sin (Chinese). 

In subsequent times, however, when the victorious Arabs had 
settled in cities, the tribe feeling gave way to the habits of settled 
life, and the names of countries are in later authors again con- 
sidered as such. 

This will explain the form of the word XxJ&Jj (Galicia,) 
and some other proper names which else must appear arbitrary ; 
it is the plural of cJiXiJ or Gallic (Gallicus), just as X*a^clJJ 
is the plural of (jaJl or comes, (count). 

In the history of Europe, we find that proper names have 
changed in the same way their meaning by the change of facts, 
as with the Arabs by the change of notions ; so were the Parisii, 
Lugduni, &c., originally tribes, and now they are cities. 

Here an addition to the note, p. 19 supra, may find place. 
It is stated there that the military cantonments were called Misrs, 
which means Egypts. The Western Arabs being in constant 
contact with the Egyptians, became necessarily aware of their 
settled condition ; and Misr means, therefore, the country of Egypt 
(and not the nation,) at all periods of the Arabic language. It 
was therefore very natural that they should say, we Egyptianize 
yj&+j, when they settled in those cantonments. Hence y^oaJJ 
means with Ibn Khaldun constantly a country where the inha- 
bitants are settled and civilized. 



language, and religion, in these empires; and they 
are frequently at war with each other. The most 
of them believe on the metempsychosis, or the 
transmigration of the soul. The Hindus are dis- 
tinct from other black nations, as the Zanj gjtt> 
ed-Demadem ^UxJl (-aUyj), and others, in point 
of intellect, government,, philosophy, colour, appear- 
ance, good constitution, talent, and intelligence. 
Galen says that the Negroes have ten qualities 
which are peculiar to them, and not found in any 
other nation : crisp hair, scanty eye-brows, expanded 
nostrils, thick lips, sharp teeth, stinking skin, black 
complexion, fissures in the skin of their hands and 
feet, long am mentulam, and great levity. The same 
author states further, their levity is owing to the 
bad quality (organisation) of their brains ; for this 
renders their intellectual faculties weak. What 
other authors say on the levity of the Negroes, and 
their gay temper, and on the still higher degree of 
levity, which is peculiar to the Zanj, and which 
distinguishes them from other Negroes, is to be 
found in our former works. 

Ya'kub Ben Ishak el-Kindi ui*\ ^j vy^ 
c^jJ^M asserts, in a memoir on the influence of the 
higher individuals (i.e. stars) and heavenly bodies 
upon this world -U*.=^ *tjkd\ ^sUsSM JUit ^ *^ 
fUxil *k ^ Xj^UvJ!, that God has arranged 
it so that everything that he has created acts at 



the same time as cause upon others, and the cause 
produces an effect in the object upon which it acts, 
which corresponds with the cause; but the object, 
which is passive, does not create any impression 
upon the cause, which is active. Spirit is the cause 
of heaven jfaJJ*, and not its effect: hence it does 

* Arabian astronomers express thus their notions of the 
heaven or sphere. Lnw^JJ ^c Jf^s=U> tf^ 

" The heaven is a simple body (not compounded,) which has 
the shape of a ball (ii. 4), and turns round its own centre, which 
it fully surrounds (i. 2). It has neither levity nor gravity 
(i. 3), and it possesses not heat, cold, moisture, nor dryness, nor 
is it susceptible of separation or coalition." 

With this may be compared the words in the Ayeen Akberi, 
(vol. iii. 2,) where it is said that this is the opinion of the ' er- 
sians, Egyptians, and Greeks, and that the heaven is eternal, and 
endowed with reason. 

The references which I added in the translation, refer to 
Aristotle's book de Ccelo, where the same ideas are expressed. 
Here another passage of Aristotle, relative to the same subject, 
may be quoted, which sets the belief, that the heaven exercises an 
influence upon the earth and its inhabitants, in its proper light, and 
connects the notions of the Hindus, Persians, and Greeks, on 
this subject. 

Qvpavov 8e KOI aorpow ova-Lav p.ev alOepa ffaXov/MP, ovx coy nvcs, 
8ta ro TTvpos &r) ov(rav, cu&cr&u, Tr\r)p,p.\ovvTcs Trepl rr\v ir\f1crTov Trvpos 
aTnjAXa-yfiei/?;!/ Swap-iV aXXa 8m TO deWc'iv KVK\o<popovp,vr)v oroi^eToj/ 
ovvav crepov ra>v recro-apwj/, a^parov re KOI Selov. Arist. de Mundo, 
cap. 2, vol. i. p. 465. 

<; We call the matter, of which the heaven and the stars con- 

N 2 


not receive impressions from it. It is, however, a 

sist, ETHER ; not because it is a fire as some believed, who had 
exceedingly wrong notions respecting that power (matter), which 
is very far from being a fire; but because it is an ELEMENT 
which observes the circular form in its motion, and it is different 
from the four other elements, being everlasting and divine." 

It is strange that this fifth element of Aristotle has never been 
noticed, although the four elements have found advocates in the 
German Metaphysico-physiologists, (see Carus, Lehrbuch der 
Physiologic, vol. i.,) in whose system it would suit admirably well. 

But the doctrine of a fifth element is much more ancient than 
Aristotle, even amongst the Greeks. Ocellus, (translation of 
Taylor, p. 10,) who lived about five centuries before Christ, at 
the time of Pythagoras, seems to have had the same notions of it 
as Aristotle. " But the Fates themselves distinguish and separate 
the impassive part of the world from that which is perpetually 
moved (mutable). For the course of the moon is the isthmus 
of immortality and generation. The region indeed above the 
moon, and also that which the moon occupies, contain the genus 
of the gods; but the place beneath the moon, is the place of 
strife and nature." 

The idea of Jive elements is general amongst the Hindus. 
They call the ether, Akas; and, although its natural place is, 
as with the Greeks, above the other elements, it pervades every- 
thing and is the vehicle of sound. Amongst the ancient Persians 
it seems to have been considered even as the principle of vege- 
tative life, hence the Zend-Avesta calls it " un feu qui ne brule 
pas et qui anime tous les etres." It was probably after the Per- 
sian idea that some Greek philosophers believed the ether was a 
fire. The Arabs have probably found this theory of the heaven 
in the schools of Persia, before they have been acquainted with 
the writings of the Greeks, after which they have put it in a 
scientific shape. 


law in nature that the spirit* follows the organisa- 
tion of the body, if there is nothing in the way. 
So it is with the Zanji. His country being very 
hot, the heavenly bodies exercise their influence 
upon it, and predispose in the humours a tendency 
to go to the upper parts of the body: hence their 
eyes are large, the lips thick, the nose flat and big, 
and the head high. The crasis of the brain is, 
therefore, out of proportion, and the mind cannot 
perfectly manifest its action ; the nicety of dis- 
tinctions and the action of the understanding are 
confused. Ancient and modern authors have 

The heavens, or spheres, which preside, according to the 
astrologers, over the destiny of this world are, therefore, not 
different from the ether of the philosophers, which is the divine 
element of life ; nor from the Zeus of the Greeks, and the Hawa 
<gj\ ( air )> which was worshipped by the Arabs, before the 
Islam, as we learn from the Koran, where it is said, ^ CoLsl 
x\*> <XA!\ <Xi.J, and from a tradition of Ibn 'Abbas. See also 
Maimonides, p. 157 of the Engl. Transl. 

* In the Cambridge copy the quotation from el-Kindi is left 
out altogether. From an allusion of Ibn Khaldun to this passage 
of our author, on the Negroes, it would appear that he did not 
find it in his copy again. 

The MS. of Leyden bears ^*\A!^ instead of yjijjl, which 
is only found in the (for the rest very incorrect,) copy of the 
Asiatic Society of Paris. However, if this reading was not con- 
firmed by the context, it might safely be adopted on the authority 
of Aristotle, from whom the whole of el- Kindt's reasoning is 
borrowed. At Sidvoiai eTrovrai. TOIS O-W/LUWI, Physiogn. cap. 1. 


spoken on the causes under the influence of which 
the Negroes are placed; and they entered upon 
their position relative to heaven, the seven planets, 
and particularly the five planets, which preside 
over their developement, and have alone influence 
upon the formation of their bodies. But this hook 
is not solely devoted to this subject. We state 
here only the facts as they have been advanced by 
various authors, referring for further details and the 
exposition of their arguments in proof of those 
facts, to our book the Akhbar ez-zeman. We have 
also explained in that book the theory of those 
astrologers and astronomers who ascribe the cha- 
racter of the Negroes to Saturn, as this is expressed 
in the verses of some modern Mohammedan writer: 
" One of them (the planets) is Saturn, who is 
an old man and powerful king. His complexion is 
black *, and this is the colour of his dress, and of 
his sulky mind. He exercises his influence upon 
the Zanj and the slaves, and to him leadf and iron 
are sacred." 

* This description of Saturn answers exactly the picture which 
el-Kazwmi gives of this planet, which is to be found beautifully 
illuminated, in a MS. of the East India House, No. 1 377, and in its 
outlines in the Fundgruben des Orients, vol. i., but there it looks 
the contrary way by a mistake of the artist. 

f A slight alteration would change the sense into " and he 
is the enemy of iron." This is more probable because iron was 
sacred to Mars, and has still the name of this planet in medicine; 


Tawus el-Yemani, the companion of 'Abdullah 
Ben el- 'Abbas ^j\ aHJ *x>^ t-^U? jl^l u^lk 
u^U*!! would not eat any meat slain (or sacrificed) 
by a Zanji. He used to say, a Zanji was a hideous 
slave. We have heard that Abul-'Abbas er-Raddhi 
Ben el-Moktader would never take anything from 
the hand of a black man, saying he was a hideous 
slave. I do not know whether he has initiated 
Tawus in his system, or in a sort of philosophical 
and religious sect. 

'Amr Ben Bahr el-Jahit k^ lit j^s? ^j ^ 
wrote a book " On the national pride of the 
Negroes, and their disputes with the white men." 

No king can succeed to the throne, according 
to Hindu laws, before he is forty years of age, nor 

for physicians acknowledge that their art originated from astro- 
logy to this day, in this as well as in some other names, as 
lunar caustic (Nitrate of silver). Mercury, crystals of Venus 
(neutral sulphate of copper), &c. Not only metals, but everything 
on earth had a patron in one of the planets with the astrologers, 
and almost everybody was as far an astrologer as his scientific 
education went. And it appears that in the dark ages a medicine 
was considered as the mediator between its respective star and 
the patient; and hence it had frequently no efficacy if not prepared 
under a certain constellation. These follies seem to have origi- 
nated in the ancient religion of the Sawad of the Tigris and 
Euphrates. Compare Maimonides, English Translation of Dr. 
Townley, p. 158; and Zend-Avesta, i. 2, p. 28. 


appears their sovereign ever before the public, 
except at certain times, which are fixed at long 
intervals, and then it is only for the inspection of 
state affairs; for, in their opinion, the kings lose 
their respect and give away their privileges if the 
public gazes at them*. The measures of govern- 
ment must be carried by mildness in India, and by 
degradation from a higher rank. 

El-Mas'udi says., I have seen in the country of 
Serendib (Ceylon), which is an island of the sea, 
that when a king dies, he is laid upon a car, with 
small wheels, and made for the purpose. His hair 
touches the ground, and a woman with a broom in 
her hand sweeps dust on his head, crying out, " O 
people, this was yesterday your king, and you were 
bound to listen to his orders. See what now has 
become of him! He has left this world, and the 
King of the kings has taken his soul (life) f . He 
alone is living, and dies not. Do not be given to 
life after this example." These words have the ten- 
dency to exhort to a pious and abstemious life in 
this world. After a procession with the body 

* Institutes of Menu, vii. 6, " Nor can any human creature 
on earth gaze on him (the king)." 

f " The king of death has taken his soul into eternal *oX 
life. Thus bears the copy of Cambridge, but *jX5 has not 
the signification which the context would give to the word, if the 
passage was correct. 


through the streets of the town, they divide it into 
four parts, and burn it with sandal- wood, camphor, 
and other perfumes which they have prepared: the 
ashes are thrown to the winds. This is the funeral 
ceremony for kings and their courtiers of the most 
nations of India *. They state the reason for so 
doing, and the object which they have in view. 

The royalty is limited upon the descendants of 
one family, and never goes to another f. The 
same is the case with the families of the vizier, 
kadhi, and other high officers. They are all (here- 
ditary and) never changed nor altered J. 

The Hindus abstain from (spirituous) liquors 
i_>^.!\$, not in obedience to some religious precept, 
but because they do not choose to take a thing 
which overwhelms their reason, and makes cease the 
dominion which this faculty is to exercise over men. 
If it can be proved of one of their kings, that he 
has drunk (wine) , he forfeits the crown ; for he is 
(not considered to be) able to rule and govern (the 
empire) if he is given to such habits ||. 

They hear frequently songs and musical per- 
formances <|&U^ ^UvJi, and they have various sorts 

* Compare ancient accounts of India and China, p. 31. 
f Ibidem, p. 32. 

J The king must appoint seven or eight ministers whose 
lineage is noble. Menu, vii. 84. 

Ancient accounts of India and China, p. 33. 
|| Compare Institutes of Menu, v,ii. 47, 50. 


of musical instruments which produce on man all 
shades of impressions between laughing and crying. 
Sometimes they make girls drink (wine), to excite 
them to show their mirth in their presence, and in 
order to be inspired with gaiety by their merriment. 

The Hindus have various interesting institu- 
tions, and are rich in curious facts. We have 
given many sketches from their history and biogra- 
phy (manners) in our book, the Kitab Akhbar ez- 
zeman, and Kitab el-ausat. A specimen, however, 
shall be inserted here. 

One of the most curious stories of the kings of 
the Hindus, and a strange (yet characteristic) ex- 
ample of the line of conduct of the most ancient 
Hindu kings, and their institutions., is (exhibited in 
the following narration) of a king of el-Komar* 
j($l\ (Comorin). From this kingdom and tract of 
India the Komdri aloes c?^l$Jl J^c has its name. 
This country is not an island of the sea, but it 
belongs to the continent, and is very mountainous. 
Few parts of India are more populous than this, 
and the inhabitants distinguish themselves before 
the other Hindus by their agreeable breath, which 
they acquire by rubbing their teeth with aloes- wood, 
as it is the habit amongst the Mohammedans. 
They consider, like the Mohammedans, fornication 

* Compare ancient accounts of India and China, p. 65, et 


to be unlawful, and they avoid (like them) unclean- 
liness, and the use of wine. In this practice the 
Hindus of the higher ranks are like those of the 
lower classes. 

They (the inhabitants of el-Komar) are for 
the most part infantry, on account of the mountain- 
ous character of the country, which is broken by 
rivers, and has few plains, or high table-lands ^Lcr'J. 
The country of el-Komar is the point of communi- 
cation with the dominions of the Maharaj ^\^^\ 9 
the king of the islands, as the Isle of ez-Zanij, 
Kolah XXT, Serendib i-vA>j~ (Ceylon), and other 

It is related that an inconsiderate man ruled in 
ancient times over el-Komar. One day he sat on 
the royal throne in his palace, which stood on a 
large river of sweet water, like the Tigris or Eu- 
phrates, and was one day's journey from the sea. 
The vizier was with the king, who said to him, 
"The splendour and high civilization of the empire 
and islands of the Maharaj are celebrated. This 
excites a desire in my mind which I wish to 
realize." The vizier, a prudent man, who knew 
the levity of his master, asked him "What is thy 
desire, O king?" " I wish," replied the king, " to 
see the head of the Maharaj, the king of ez-Zanij, 
laying (in a dish) at my feet." The vizier saw 
that envy had inspired him with these thoughts, 

188 EL-MAs'uni's MEADOWS OF GOLD, 

and he said, after some consideration, " I do not 
think the king will permit this idea to rest in his 
mind, as there has never existed any difference 
between us and that nation, neither of yore, nor of 
late; nor have they ever done us any harm. Be- 
sides they are far from us, in islands, and by no 
means neighbours ; nor have they any design 
against our possessions. The distance between the 
dominions of the Maharaj and those of el-Komar, 
is from ten to twenty days across the sea. It is 
therefore better, O king," continued the vizier, " not 
to persist in this scheme." The king made no reply, 
he was enraged with anger, and shut his ear to 
advice. He acquainted his officers and the chiefs 
of his men, who were present, with his project ; and 
so it was divulged, and went from tongue to tongue 
till it reached the Maharaj, who was a prince of 
great prudence, and a middle-aged man. 

The Maharaj called his vizier, related to him 
the account which he had received, and said, " Con- 
sidering the project of this madman, which has 
come to publicity, and the intentions which he has 
formed, with his inexperienced and overbearing 
spirit, and after his words have become generally 
known, we can no longer preserve peace with him, 
he has forfeited the crown, and deserves to be 
deposed." The king ordered his vizier to observe 
secrecy of what had passed between them, and to 


prepare a thousand of the best ships 
V^XJ ksjt, with full equipment, to provide them 
with the arms necessary, and to man them with a 
sufficient number of the best soldiers. He pre- 
tended that these preparations were meant for an 
excursion into his islands, and he wrote to the 
kings (governors) of these islands, who were under 
his sway, and his subjects, that he had the intention 
to pay them a visit, and to make an excursion to 
their islands. This rumour spread, and the king 
of every island made all possible preparation for the 
reception of the Maharaj. When everything was 
ready and in order, he went on board and sailed 
with the army to the kingdom of el-Komar. The 
king of el-Komar was not aware of the expedition 
before he came up the wadi (river,) which washes 
the walls of the royal palace. The Maharaj ordered 
his men to make an assault upon (the palace,) and 
they surrounded it unaware, and took possession of 
it. The inhabitants appeared before the Maharaj, 
he ordered to proclaim "quarter," and sat on the 
throne on which the king of el-Komar used to sit, 
who was now a prisoner, and commanded to bring the 
king and his vizier in his presence, and said, " What 
gave rise to those intentions which are beyond 
thy power? And if thou hadst attained thy object 
thou wouldst not have been the happier." The 
facility of the execution of the project did not afford 
any excuse (to the captive king), and so he remained 


silent. "If thy desires/' continued the Maharaj, 
"to see my head before thee in a dish had been 
joined with the intention to make thyself master of 
my dominions, and the throne, and to spread 
destruction in any part of the country, I should 
do the same thing to thee. But thou hast dis- 
tinctly expressed thy object, and I will now visit 
it on thee; and I will return to my country 
without touching anything in thy empire either 
small or great. Thou shalt be an example for 
posterity, that none may dare to transgress the 
portion which Providence has given to him*." 

After these words he beheaded him ; and turning 
to the vizier, "Thou hast tried all," said he, " that 
a good vizier can do: I know thou gavest good 
advice to thy master, which he ought to have 
accepted : consult who may be most fit to succeed 
this madman, and put him on the throne." The 
Maharaj returned immediately to his country, and 
neither he nor anybody of his army touched anything 
in the kingdom of el-Komar. 

LAJK CyJ* 1 JJJ jCx3 *XT Jji ^ 

M. Renaudot had evidently the same 

words which are transcribed here ; but he differs from the above 


When the Maharaj was come back into his 
dominions, he sat on his throne, from whence he 
enjoyed the view over a hay which was called the 
Bay of the Ingot of Gold -^jJJ ^xJ* ^^5 and 
before him was placed the dish with the head of the 
king of el-Komar. He assembled the great men of 
his kingdom, narrated to them his exploits, and 
exposed the reason which had brought him under 
the necessity of undertaking them. He was 
received with the marks of admiration, and prayers 
for his welfare. Then he gave orders to wash 
the head of the king of el-Komar, to embalm it, and 
to send it in a vase to the king who had succeeded 
him in el-Komar; and he wrote to him: ll Our 
motive in acting as we have done with thy prede- 
cessor having been his hostile intentions towards 
us and to offer an example to his equals, it appears to 
us well to send back his head to thee, since we have 
obtained our object, as there is no use in keeping it, 
for this trophy would not add to the glory of our 
victory." The news of this action reached the 
ears of the kings of India and China, and the 
Maharaj rose greatly in their estimation ; and since 
this time, the kings of el-Komar turn their faces 
every morning towards ez-Zanij, and prostrate them- 
selves to express their veneration for the Maharaj. 

* ..^A! Seems to be the technical term for ingot, in Arabic 
coinage; at least it is used as such by en-Nowairl. 


El-Mas'udi says, the meaning of the words 
v-^> &\ ^J ^j^Xc (the bay of the ingot of gold) is 
this, the palace of the Maharaj stands on a little 
bay ^Jvr, which is in connexion with the greatest 
strait of ez-Zanij. At high tide this strait is filled 
with sea water, and at low tide sweet water flows in 
it. The treasurer ^Lc^j of the king goes every 
morning into this bay, carrying an ingot of gold 
with him of several pounds UuJ, but we do not know 
its exact weight. He throws it before the king 
into the bay. When the tide comes in, the water 
covers this and other ingots which may be there; 
and when the water retires, it appears again, and it 
shines in the sun. The king sits in the room of 
reception from which he delights to see it .The habit 
of throwing every day a golden ingot into this bay, is 
continued during the whole reign of the same king, 
and they are never touched. When the king dies, 
his successor has them all taken out, and none of 
them are put into the bay again; but they are 
counted, melted, and distributed among the royal 
household; amongst the men,, women, children, 
leaders, and servants ; to every one according to his 
station, and the class to which he belongs; and 
what remains is given to the poor and indigent. 
The number of golden ingots and their weight 
is registered, and it is said such and such a king 
reigned so many years, and left such and such 


a number of ingots, of such a weight in the royal bay, 
for distribution after his death. Kings who had 
a long reign, set their glory on leaving many 

The greatest king of India in our times is the 
Ballahra, the lord of El-Mankir. The most kings 
of India turn, in their prayers, their face towards 
him; and they pray (adore?) his messengers yiT^ 

when they receive them. The dominions of the 
Ballahra border on many other kingdoms of India. 
Some kings have their territory in the mountains, 
and are not in possession of a sea, as the er-Ray 
<$VjJJ (Raja), who is the king of el-Kashmir J*C&A!I 
> and the king of et-Tafi ^UUt (^UJl or 
and other Hindu sovereigns. Others 
are in possession of land and sea. The country of 
the king el- Ballahra is eighty Sindi farsangs ^w ^ 
x>jJLo, from the sea; every such farsang has eight 
miles. His troops and elephants are innumerable, 
and his army consists mostly of infantry, for his 
dominions are mountainous. At some distance 
from him is the territory of Barudah 22^ (*#^ 
or *f> or *jjj}) 9 who is one of those kings of 
India who have no sea, and resides in the town of 
el-Kinnauj*. This is the name for every sove- 

* In other passages of this work the title of this king is 



reign who rules over this country. He has large 
armies garrisoned in the north and south, and in 
the east and west; for he is surrounded by warlike 
neighbours. We shall insert a general account of 
the kings of es-Sind and India, and of other places 
of the world, farther on in this book, where we 
speak of the seas,, their wonders, and of the 
nations, kings, &c., in them, and round them. We 
have treated on these subjects in our former works. 
There is no strength nor power except in God. 

clearly written Budah k'^j. The name or title of the king of 
el-Kinnauj, at the time of the conquest of Mahmud of Ghizna, 
was Rajbal 



On the globe, the seas, the beginning of rivers, the 
mountains, the seven climates, the stars which 
preside over them, the order of the spheres, and 
other subjects. 

EL-MAS'UDI says, the mathematicians have divided 
the earth into four quarters, the east, west, north, 
and south. Another division is into the inhabited 
and uninhabited, cultivated and uncultivated world. 
They say the earth is round, its centre falls in the 
midst of the heaven, and the air surrounds it from 
all sides. It is the dot (centre) in reference to the 

The cultivated land is considered to begin from 
the Eternal Islands (Fortunate Islands) jo^il 
okxJlii, in the Western Ocean, which is a group of 
six flourishing islands, and to extend as far as the 
extremity of China ^xaJJ. They found that this is 
a space of twelve hours (of the daily revolution of 
the sun) ; for they know that when the sun sets in 
the extremity of China, it rises again in the 
cultivated islands of the Western Ocean ; and when 
it sets in these islands, it rises in the extremity of 
China. This is half the circumference of the earth, 

o 2 


and the length of the cultivated parts of the globe, 
which, if reduced into miles, amounts to thirteen 
thousand five hundred geographical miles *. 

The researches into the breadth of the culti- 
vated land have shown that it extends from the 
equator as far north as the isle of Thule Jp, which 
belongs to Britannia XAJU^J, and where the longest 
day has twenty hours. 

They state that there is a point of the equator 
of the earth between east and west, which falls in 
an island between India and Habesh (Abyssinia), 
somewhat south of these two countries; and as 
it is in the middle, between north and south, so 
it is in the middle between the Fortunate Islands 
and the utmost cultivated districts of China; and 
this is known by the name of the Dome of the earth 
u*j $\ Xxi', and defined by the description which we 
have just givenf. 

* Literally "of those miles which are in use in measuring the 
circumference of the earth." 

f Messrs. Reinaud and Baron Slane, (Aboulfeda, p. 376,) 
collected the most important passages from Arabic authors, 
bearing on this dome of the earth, and traced the origin of 
the idea to India. But it appears it also existed amongst the 
ancient Greeks. 

6s ('OSuo'evs) 8) drjdd <f)i\a)v OTTO TrfjfMaTa nd^fi, 

Nqo-os fv dfjiffripvTr), 061 T OM$AAO2 eori 6a\d(T(Tr)5. 

Homer, Odyss. i. 51. 

The navel of the earth is also mentioned in the Scriptures; 
but as the Greeks have neglected this idea in subsequent time, it 


The breadth from the Isle of Thule to the 
equator makes nearly sixty degrees: this is one- 
sixth of the circumference of the earth. This 
sixth, which represents the breadth of the cultivated 
parts of the earth, multiplied with one-half, which 
expresses the length, gives as product the extent of 
the cultivated world (jji/*JJ of the northern hemi- 
sphere. This product is half one-sixth (or one- 
twelfth) of the surface of the globe. 

THE SEVEN CLIMATES*. The first climate is the 

seems that it had arisen from considering the earth as a round 
plain, convex in the centre, which is this dome. It belongs there- 
fore to the doctrine of the Jummoodeep of the Hindus, about 
which, the reader may compare Ayeen Akberi, vol. iii., p. 25. 

Bazih s^Lj is a town near the dome of the earth, on the same 
meridian as Khojandah, in Transoxania; and this meridian was 
considered as the absolute division between east and west (Meta- 
tih el-'olum). 

* The basis of all researches in ancient history must unques- 
tionably be to trace when and where ideas have risen ? how they 
have been propagated? what changes they underwent? and 
what was their influence upon the life, freedom, and happiness of 
man in their different phases. It is in this point of view that this 
notice of our author on the seven climates is important, for it 
shows us that it is neither an invention of the Greeks, as Pliny 
observes (lib. vii., cap. 39), nor originally founded upon the 
observations of the gnomon having reference to the northern 
latitude, as the same author, and everybody else after him, 

The seven climates, as we see here, are independent of the 
latitude of places ; and owe their origin to the circumstance that, 


country of Babil, which includes Khorasan, Faris, 

in the star worship, every part of the earth was sacred to one of 
the seven planets. 

This was not only the habit amongst the Persians, but we find 
that they have been imitated by Ptolemy, who assigns equally 
to every country a planet as a patron, in his Tetrabiblos. I have 
no means of referring to this book at present, and do not remem- 
ber whether he makes the same divisions, but nothing is more 
natural than that the city of Baal or Babylon, [for even Arabic 
writers (et-Tanbih, fol. 25. verso,) confess, that the Persians and 
Nabathaeans derive Babel from Bil J^,, which means the planet 
Jupiter c5^p.^JL\ J should be sacred to Jupiter ; and the countries 
of the black nations to the dark and gloomy Saturn ; whilst the 
lively Arabs worshipped particularly the bright star of Venus in 
San'a ; Thaut was the god of the grave Egyptians, and it is very 
likely that the Sabeans of Harran, worshipped the moon in 
preference to other planets ; the warlike Turks, or Tartars, found 
in Mars their patron ; whilst the most eastern country, the Shave 
of the Zend books, was naturally sacred to the sun. 

As we conclude that a map in which the first meridian goes 
through Greenwich, has been made in England, so we can have 
no doubt that a division of the globe, in which Babel stands on the 
head, has been made in Babylonia; for the rest we have a direct 
proof in the Tenblh, where the author says distinctly that the 
Persians divide the earth into seven climates, consecrating them 
to the seven planets. Maimonides, Nev., p. iii., cap. 27, assigns 
the division of the earth after the seven planets to the Sabeans 

The Zendavesta mentions these seven climates in several places, 
but the fire worshippers leave out the planets who presided over 
them. The Zend word for climate is Keshvar. 

It is very curious that Pliny includes all the countries in the 
first climate, which we find in el-Mas'iidi as being subordinate to 


el-Ahwas, el-Mausil, and the Jebal*. The Aries 
and Sagittarius are the zodiacal signs of this climate, 
and Jupiter is its planet. 

The second climate includes es-Sind, India, 
and es-Sudan (Nigritia): their sign is Capricorn, 
and their planet Saturn. 

The third climate is Mekka, Medina, Yemen, 
et-Tayif, the Hejaz, and the intermediate countries: 
their sign is Scorpio, and their star is Venus. 

The fourth climate is Egypt t, Afrikiyah (Africa 

it. He names (lib. vi. cap. 39,) Parthyene (Khorasan) ; Persae 
(Faris) ; Susiane (el- Ahwaz) ; and Mesopotamia (el-Mausil) : 
although these countries belong, according to Pliny's principle of 
division, to the third climate. Nobody will therefore say the 
division of the earth into seven climates was a Greek invention, or 
was originally made according to the latitude of the places, 
although the honour of having reduced it to this more scientific 
principle is owing to the Greeks. 

* These countries formed the Iran or holy land of the Per- 
sians, which is called KHOUNNERETS in the Zend books. This 
name would be an additional proof to confirm what has been stated 
in the preceding note, if such was required. The Keschvar or 
climate of Khounnerets, means the climate of Babel, (exactly the 
same as our author calls it), for el-Mas'udi informs us in the 
Tanblh (MS. 337, de St. Germain, Royal Library of Paris, fol. 
25, recto)) that Kha'inereth C,J.AAS*. is the Assyrian or Chaldean 
name of Babylon. This throws a great deal of light on the 
Zendavesta; for Khounnerets is mentioned as the most sacred 
place. It may lead to important conjectures, why this climate has 
its name from Babel and not the pure Persian name Iran. 

T This climate has the name of Arze in the Zend books, and 


provincia), el-Berber, Spain, and the interjacent 
countries: their sign is the Gemini, and their 
planet is Mercury. 

The fifth climate is Syria and el-Jezirah (Meso- 
potamia)*: their sign is the Aquarius, and their 
planet the Moon. 

The sixth climate is et-Turk (Turkestan), el- 
Khazar j^\ 9 ed-Dailom jju<x!l, and es-Sakalibah 
XxJUuoJJ (Slavonians) f: their sign is the Cancer, and 
their star is Mars. 

The seventh climate is ed-DabilJ 

or J^JJl, and China: their zodiacal sign is the 
Libra, and their planet the Sun. 

Hosain the astronomer, who is the author of 
the Astronomical Tables p.^Jl J g$\\ v^> relates 
from Khaled Ben 'Abdul-Melik el-Marwazi tfj^Xt 
G^jJtAO' and the others who have observed the sun 
in the plains of Sinjar ^l^uw, in Diyar Rabi'ah, by 
order of el-Mamun, that the length of one degree 

the chief of this climate is there (Boun-Dehesch, cap. xxx, p. 
408), said to be Schaschega, which is clearly the name of the Sesak 
of the Scriptures. It would not be difficult to find out the name g 
of the chiefs of the other climates, if it was worth while. 

* One copy adds " and er-Rum," the Byzantine empire. 

f These nations and countries were all on the coasts of the 

f Perhaps Daibol, which is the last seaport in es-Sind, is to be 

The llabi'ah tribe held the South of Mesopotamia. 


of the earth is equal to fifty-six miles : they mul- 
tiplied this number with three hundred and sixty, 
and found the circumference of the globe, which is 
covered with land and seas, to be twenty thousand 
one hundred and sixty miles. The circumference 
of the earth, multiplied with seven, gives as pro- 
duct one hundred and forty-one thousand one hun- 
dred and twenty; and this, divided with twenty- 
two, gives the length of the diameter ^3 of the 
earth as the result, viz., six thousand four hundred 
and fourteen miles, and nearly half a tenth of a 
mile. The length of the radius of the earth is 
three thousand two hundred and seven miles, six- 
teen minutes, and two-thirds of a second, which is 
equal to one-fourth and the fourth part of one-tenth 
of a mile (eleven-fortieths). A mile has four thou- 
sand black cubits : these are the cubits which have 
been introduced by the Khalif el-Mamun for mea- 
suring cloths, buildings, and grounds: one cubit 
has twenty-four inches *j&\. 

The philosopher o^X/jUt (Ptolemy) gives an 
account in his book entitled "Gighrafia" loiyL*. 
(yecoypa^ia) of the world, its towns, mountains, 
seas, islands, rivers,, and wells. He describes the 
inhabited towns and cultivated tracts. There were, 
according to him, four thousand five hundred and 
thirty towns in his time. He names these towns, 
adding to every one of them in what climate it is 
situated. He says in his book what colour the 


mountains of the world have, red, yellow, green, 
or any other colour. There are about two hundred 
mountains (named by Ptolemy). He gives their 
dimensions, mentions the mines which are in them, 
and the mass of which they consist (or the gems 
found in them). The philosopher says that the 
seas which surround the globe are five seas. He 
names the islands which are in them, stating whe- 
ther they are cultivated or not; but only the more 
celebrated islands are mentioned, and not those 
which are less known. So, for instance*, there is 
an Archipelago in the Abyssinian Sea, consisting 
of nearly one thousand islands, called ed-Dinjat 
L*u&Jl (^LsryjjOi), all of which are cultivated. 
The distance from one island to another is two or 
three miles, more or less. 

He states in his geography that the sea of the 
Byzantine empire and of Egypt (the Mediterranean) 
begins from the sea of the idols of copper (Columrus 
Herculis) ; that the number of all the great springs 
on earth is two hundred and thirty, not counting 
the lesser ones; that there are two hundred and 
ninety great and perennial rivers; and that the 
extent of every one of the seven climates, which 
we have just mentioned, is nine hundred farsangs 

The Cambridge copy 
bears Aj ^ j$*j an( ^ ^ le mentions that there is an Archipelago. 


square. Some seas have cultivation (in islands); 
others have none. Into the number of the latter 
enters the ocean, or the sea, which surrounds the 
world kxsi?J ^i. The reader will find in the fol- 
lowing pages a description of the division of the 
seas. They are all represented in the geography 
(of Ptolemy) in drawings of different colours, di- 
mensions, and forms. Some have the form of a 
cloak ^U^Xxk, some of an armour, and others of 
intestines*, and are round, or triangular; but the 
names in that book are in Greek : hence they are 

The diameter of the earth is two thousand one 
hundred farsangs [but the correct number is one 
thousand six hundred farsangs f] : a farsang is equal 
to one thousand six hundred cubits. 

The orbit of the lowest star is the sphere (or 
heaven) of the moon, and has one hundred and 
twenty-five thousand six hundred and sixty far- 
sangs in circumference. The diameter of the 
heaven, from the limit of the head of the Aries to 
the limit of the head of the Libra, measures forty 
thousand farsangs. 

* This word L*ax>, intestine, is, I believe, not found in 
any dictionary. It is, however, used in vulgar Arabic, and fre- 
quently found in books. 

f This correction is only in one copy. 


There are nine spheres (or heavens) cftUi. The 
first; which is the smallest, and nearest to the earth, 
is the sphere of the Moon^W*; the second is the 
sphere of Mercury JjlkxJ!; the third, of Venus 
*jj*>j$\; the fourth, of the Sun y^^t; the fifth, of 
Mars jtt ; the sixth of Jupiter <gJrJ&\ ; the 
seventh, of Saturn J^JJ; the eighth, of the fixed 
stars; the ninth, of the Zodiac ^$j&. The form 
of these spheres is like one ball in another. The 
sphere of the Zodiac is called the universal sphere 
^XSftjfo. The revolution of this sphere is the 
cause of day and night ; for it carries the sun, 

* The word Kamar (moon), says en-Nowairi, means white ; Zoh- 
rah (Venus) resplendent, Zonal (Saturn) is explained as meaning 
ill-natured and wandering; Mirrikh (Mars), say some authors, means 
originally an arrow without feathers, and this name was applied to 
Mars on account of its irregular course ; others seek for a more 
natural meaning of this word, and derive it from the name of a 
tree called markh ^ ^ 9 the branches of which are rubbed against 

each other and produce fire; 'Utarid (Mercury), says the same 
author, means a penman : and, indeed, this planet is represented 
as such ; but whether this word is ever used for penman in Arabic 
is more than doubtful. Ibn Bai'tar mentions a plant which is 
called Sonbal er-Rumi by the Arabs, and 'Utarid by the Naba- 
theans. This might lead to the opinion that this strange-sounding 
word derives its origin in its astronomical meaning, as well from 
that language, to which several other terms and notions of Arabic 
astronomy seem to owe their origin. 


moon, and all the stars, once in a day and night, 
with itself, in the direction from east to west, round 
the two poles, which are fixed the one in the north, 
and this is the pole of the Bear ; and the other in 
the south, which is the pole of Canopus. The 
signs of the zodiac have no other sphere than this ; 
for they are certain places in heaven which have 
received this name*, in order to fix after them 
the position of the stars, in reference to the uni- 
versal sphere. The sphere of the zodiac must there- 
fore be narrow towards the two poles, and become 
wide in the middle, 

The line which cuts the sphere in two halves 
running from the east to the west is called the 
equinoctial line J^tt\ Jjo^ *jjte- Both poles are at 
the same distance from this line. It has the 
name equinoctial line, because when the sun is upon 
it, day and night are equal in all countries of the 
world. The direction from north to south in the 
sphere is called latitude o^ c > an d the direction 
from east to west longitude J^. The spheres are 
round; they include the world (earth), and turn 
round the centre of the earth, which stands like the 
centre of a circle in the middle of them. The 

* This explains why the Signs of the Zodiac were called boruj, 
sing, borj, which means stronghold, or fortress, and answers to the 
Persian word Alborj, and the German Burg, Berg. 


spheres of the heaven are nine; the nearest is the 
sphere of the moon, above it is the sphere of Mer- 
cury, then that of Venus, then the sphere of the sun, 
which is in the middle between the seven spheres (of 
the planets); above the sphere of the sun is that of 
Mars, then the sphere of Jupiter, then the sphere of 
Saturn. In every one of these seven spheres there is 
only one star. Above Saturn is the eighth sphere, in 
which are the signs of the zodiac, and all other 
stars. The ninth sphere is the largest and widest, 
it is called the greatest sphere, and includes all 
others which we have just enumerated, with the four 
temperaments and all qualities*. There is no star 
in it. It turns from east to west, making one com- 
plete revolution every day. And in its revolution 
it carries with itself all the spheres which are below 
(within) it. But the seven spheres (of the planets) 
turn from west to eastt. The ancients prove what 

* XJuXiU A^ ZxjjM >ULM, literally "the four 
natures, and every quality." The four natures imply warmth 
and cold, dryness and wet. Two of these qualities were consi- 
dered as necessary for the existence of a body as the three geo- 
metrical dimensions. Arabic pharmacologists begin, therefore, 
the description of drugs by stating which two of these qualities, or 
temperaments, they possess. 

Quality XJuXiJ is the characteristic property which distin- 
guishes one individual from another. (Bahr el-Jewahir.) 

f This astronomical theory is copied from Ptolemy, and is of 


we have said with many arguments, but it would be 
too long to repeat them here. 

The stars visible to the eye and all others are in 
the eighth sphere, which does not make its revolu- 
tions round the pole of the general sphere (being 
excentric). They bring as proof for the difference 
of the motion of the sphere of the zodiac from that 
of the other spheres, that the twelve zodiacal signs 
follow each other in their course, without change in 
their relative position and alteration in their motion 
in rising and setting. Every one of the planets has 
a different motion, for there is a discrepancy in their 
course ; sometimes the motion is quicker, sometimes 

little interest. I give the explanation of the idea of the seven 
spheres in the precise words of La Place (Exposition du Systeme 
du Monde, Paris, 1808, p. 343): " Ptolemee 1'adopta (the theory 
of the circular and uniform motion), et pla^ant la terre au centre 
des mouvements celestes, il essaya de representer leur inegalite 
dans cette hypothese. Que Ton imagine un mouvement sur une 
premiere circonference, dont la terre occupe le centre, celui d'une 
seconde circonference sur laquelle se meut le centre d'une troisieme 
circonference, et ainsi de suite jusqu'a la derniere, que 1'astre 
decrit uniformement. Si le rayon d'une de ces circonference s 
surpasse la somme des autres rayons, le mouvement apparent de 
1'astre autour de la terre sera compose d'un moyen mouvement 
uniforme, et de plusieurs inegalites dependantes des rapports 
qu'ont entre eux les rayons des diverses circonferences et le 
mouvement de leur centre et de 1'astre ; on peut done, en multi- 
pliant, et en determinant convenablement ces quantites, repre- 
senter toutes les inegalites de ce mouvement apparent." 


it goes towards the south, other times to the 

They (the astronomers), define the SPHERE 
JjjU! as the end Sul^iM (universe), for it embraces 
the higher and lower nature*. The definition in 
reference to its natural quality is, that it is a round 
form, and the largest (concrete) form which includes 
all others f. 

The rapidity of the motion of these stars is 
different, so the moon stays in every sign (of the 
zodiac) two days and half a day, and she goes 
through all the heaven in one month ; the sun stays 
in every sign one month; Mercury stays fifteen 
days; Venus twenty-five days; Mars stays in every 
sign of the zodiac forty-five days; Jupiter stays in 
every sign of the zodiac one year, and Saturn 
remains thirty months in every sign of the zodiac. 

Ptolemy, the author of the Almagest ^- 

* The ether and the four elements of the earthly bodies : the 
former has its natural place above the lunar region, and is the 
essence of life ; whilst the latter form the dead mass of bodies. 
Compare the note to p. 179, supra. 

f El-Khalil, the great grammarian, defines the word better: 
*UwJJ i*fijj* *& jfollj "felek (sphere) is the round of the 
heaven:" the word has, therefore, originally only reference to 
the form, and not to the matter; and this is borne out by the 
original signification of the word, for it means anything round : 
hence it would appear that all these ideas have not been in the 
nation, but have been imported, for else they would have a word. 


states, the circumference of the earth, with all its 
mountains and seas, is twenty-four thousand miles; 
and its diameter, that is to say, its width and depth, 
seven thousand six hundred and thirty-six miles. 
These data were found by taking the northern alti- 
tude in two towns which are under the same meri- 
dian, namely, at Tadmor, which is in the desert 
between Syria and el-Trak, and at er-Rakkah. 
They found the town of er-Rakkah to be under the 
thirty-fifth and one-third degree of northern alti- 
tude, whilst the elevation of the north pole in 
Tadmor is thirty-four degrees. The difference 
between both is one and one-third degree. Then 
they measured the distance between Tadmor and 
er-Rakkah ; and they found it to be sixty-seven miles. 
Sixty- seven miles of the earth is therefore the 
known quantity yfclliM of the circle jfoW. They 
divided the whole circle into three hundred and 
sixty degrees, for a reason which they state ; but it 
would be against our object to demonstrate it here. 
This division is correct in their opinion; for they 
found that the heaven is divided into twelve parts 
by the zodiacal signs, and the sun, remaining in 
every sign one month, goes through the whole 
heaven in three hundred and sixty -five days. 

The sphere which makes the daily revolution 
turns round an axle and two poles, just like the 
wheel of the carpenter or turner, who makes balls, 
boxes, and other articles of wood. Those who live 



in the middle of the earth, that is to say, on the 
equator, have all the year round day and night of 
equal length; and they see both poles, the north 
and south poles ; whilst those who inhabit the 
northern hemisphere, see only the north pole and the 
Bear, but not the south pole, nor the stars near it. 
For this reason they never see the Canopus in 
Khorasan, whilst it may be observed in el-'Irak 
some days in the year. If a camel looks at this 
star it will die, according to the common belief 
which we have related, together with the reason 
which is assigned that it should be fatal only to 
this species of quadrupeds. In the northern coun- 
tries they never see the Canopus all the year round. 
The different schools of the sciences of the spheres 
and stars do not agree about the axles upon which 
the heaven rests, whether they are immoveable, or 
whether they have a rotatory motion. Most of 
them are, however, of opinion that they do not 
move. The reader may find a further develope- 
ment of the opinions, whether these axles are 
immoveable, or whether they form part of the 
sphere (and turn)*, in our former works. 

* There seems, notwithstanding the gross notions alluded 
to in this passage, to have prevailed a dark idea of the mutual 
attraction of the heavenly bodies, amongst the Arabs, at least el- 
Makrizi informs us that some astronomers suppose that the earth 
is attracted from all sides by the heaven, as by a magnet. 


The philosophers are at variance about the 
form of the seas. Most of the ancients, such as the 
mathematicians of the Hindus and Greeks, believe 
that they are convex ^\A**O (round). This hypo- 
thesis, however, is rejected by those who follow 
strictly the revelation*. The former bring for- 
ward many arguments in proof of their statement. 
If you sail on the sea, land and mountains disap- 
pear gradually, until you lose even the sight of 
highest summits of the mountains, and, on the 
contrary, if you approach the coast, you gra- 
dually perceive, first, the mountains, and, when 
you come nearer, you see the trees and plains. 

This is the case with the mountain of Doma- 
wand jJ^Ufc> between er-Rai and Taberistan. It is 
to be seen at a distance of one hundred farsangs, on 
account of its height: from the summit rises a 
smoke ; and it is covered with eternal snow, owing 
to its elevation. From the foot of the mountain 
gushes forth a copious river, the water of which is 
impregnated with sulphur, and of a yellow hue 
like the colour of gold. The mountain is so high 

They probably oppose passages of the Koran, like these, 

P 2 

01 UJ 


that about three days and nights are required to 
ascend it. When on the top, a platform is dis- 
covered, of about a thousand cubits square ; but 
as seen from below, it appears as if terminating 
in a cone. This platform is covered with red 
sand (scoriae?), into which the feet sink. No 
animal can reach the summit, not even a bird, on 
account of the height, the wind, and the cold. On 
the top are about thirty holes, from whence issues 
clouds of sulphurous smoke, which is seen from 
the sea. From the same wind-holes < AJJ^ pro- 
ceeds, sometimes, a noise to be compared with 
the loudest thunder, which is accompanied with 
flames. It frequently happens that a man who 
exposes himself to danger, by climbing up to 
the highest mouths of these holes, brings a yellow 
sulphur back like gold, which is used in different 
arts, in alchemy, and for other purposes*. From 

* 'Ali Ben Zorairah g^, ^^ ( ^^ ^c, a man well versed in 
natural philosophy, who made himself known through many 
works, says, that he has ascended this mountain, with several 
persons of Khorasan, and gives almost literally the same descrip- 
tion as el-Mas'udi ; so that it is probable our author has derived 
his account from him if he is earlier. 

El-Kazwini, in whose 'Ajaib el-Makhlukat the above author 
is quoted, gives, under the head jebal en-nar (volcanoes), the 
following account: 

" Volcanoes are numerous. There is one in Turkestan with 


the top the mountains all around appear like hillocks, 
however high they may be. This mountain is 
about twenty farsangs from the Caspian. If ships 
sail in this sea, and are very distant, they will not 
see it ; but when they go towards the mountains of 
Taberistan, and are within a distance of one hun- 
dred farsangs, they perceive the north side of this 
mountain of Domawand ; and the nearer they come 
to the shore the more is seen of it. This is an 
evident proof of the spherical form of the water of 
the sea, which has the shape of a segment of a 

In the same way if a man sails on the sea of 
er-Rum, which is the same as that of Egypt and of 
Syria, he loses sight of the mount el-Akra* ^*^ 
which has a height beyond measure, and is near 
Antakiyah (Antioch) X/J1W, and of the mountains of 
el-Ladikiyah 3ui'i&H (Laodicea), Atrabolos 
(Tripolis), and those of the Isle of Kobros 
(Cyprus), and other places in the Byzantine empire ; 

a grotto, which may be compared to a large house ; and every 
animal that goes into it dies instantly : another is in Kolistan (?) 

/. ^ 

There is a place in this mountain which causes instant death 
to every bird that approaches it : it is therefore surrounded with 
dead animals. In the neighbourhood of Domawand is another 
mountain, like the mountain of Domawand: at night fire is seen 
burning on the summit, and smoke issues during the day.] 


and he does not see these places although nothing is 
between him and them. We shall give a more 
complete account of the mountain of Domawand in 
this book, relating what the Persians say of it. 
Edh-Dhahhak, with many mouths*, is bound with 
iron on the summit of this mountain. The holes 
on its top are some of the great chimnies (craters) f 
of the earth. 

There are many disputes respecting the size of 
the globe. Most mathematicians believe that the 
distance from the centre of the earth to the limit of 
air and fire (atmosphere) amounts to one hundred 
and sixty-eight thousand miles. The earth is 
somewhat more than thirty-seven times greater 
than the moon, thirty-two thousand times greater 
than Mercury, and twenty-four thousand times 
greater than Venus; but the sun is one hundred 
and sixty times and one-fourth and one-eighth 
times greater than the earth, and two thousand six 
hundred and forty times larger than the moon; so 
that the whole earth is equal only to half a tenth 
(one-twentieth) of one degree of the sun. The 

J'lxv/oJi "the Laugher," is one of the Arabic 
names for Zohak, the Semitic invader, in the Persian empire. 
Some identify him with Nimrod. The popular tradition, that he 
is tied on mount Domawand, is confirmed by Ferdusi and the 
Zend books. 
t Ubl sing. 


diameter of the sun is forty-two thousand miles. 
Mars is sixty-three times larger than the earth ; its 
diameter is eight thousand seven hundred miles. 
Jupiter is eighty-two times and one-half and one- 
fourth (three-quarters) larger than the earth ; its 
diameter is thirty-three thousand two hundred and 
sixteen miles. Saturn is ninety-nine and a half 
times as large as the earth; its diameter being 
thirty-two thousand seven hundred and eighty-six 
miles. The bodies of the fixed stars of the first 
magnitude, of which there are fifteen, are every one 
of them ninety-four and a half times greater than 
the earth. 

When the moon is nearest to the earth the distance 
is one hundred and twenty-eight thousand miles, 
and when it is remotest from our globe, it amounts 
to four million one hundred and nineteen thousand 
six hundred miles. The greatest distance of the 
sun from the earth is four million eight hundred 
and twenty thousand miles and a half : the greatest 
distance of Mars is somewhat more than three hun- 
dred and thirty million six thousand miles. The 
greatest distance of Jupiter from the earth is some- 
what more than fifty-four million one hundred and 
sixty thousand miles: the greatest distance of 
Saturn is more than seventy-seven million miles. 
The greatest distances of the fixed stars are in the 
same proportions. Upon the divisions, degrees, 


and distances, which we have mentioned, the calcu- 
lations of time and eclipses are founded. The 
principal instruments for astronomical observation 
are the astrolabes CL>lj^k-^I (armillary spheres). 
Books have been written entirely on this subject. 
We have devoted this chapter to the explanation of 
some of those matters which are the subject of so 
many discussions. Our observations may serve as a 
guide to enter deeper into this subject, on which we 
have treated more fully in our former writings. 
Those inhabitants of Harran* who profess the 

* Abulfaragius states, that Harran was built by Kainan, and 
so called after his son. This town is mentioned in Genesis, and 
by several Latin and Greek authors. The passages of the 
classics respecting Harran, have been collected by Vadianus. 

It is probably owing to its advantageous situation, that Mer- 
wan the last Oma'iyide Khalif in the East, chose it as his residence, 
and built there a palace at the expense of several millions of Dir- 
hems. The Abbasides may have felt repugnance to take their resi- 
dence in this town, in which Ibrahim the predecessor of es-Seffah 
the founder of their dynasty, suffered death after long imprison- 
ment. But under the Seljuks, Atabeks, and as late as the crusades, 
Harran was a place of importance and frequently the site of one 
of the feudal sovereigns; it flourished particularly under the 
Beni Hamdan, who ruled over Mesopotamia, at the beginning of 
the fourth century of the Hijrah. 

It seems that Harran has always been one of the principal 
sites of learning. Near this town was a sacred place of the 
Sabeans , and the Harranians continued faithful to their religion, 
which was that of the ancient Chaldeans, after the rise of the 
Abasside dynasty, although the population round them had twice 


religion of the Sabeans*, and who aspire by trum- 

changed their faith: first they embraced Christianity, and then 
they professed the tenets of Mohammed. 

Their yearly pilgrimage to the pyramids in Egypt, brought 
them into contact with the Alexandrians ; this led to an exchange 
of ideas which is very perceptible in the writings of the latter, 
and which encouraged the literary activity amongst the Sabeans 
of Harran, so much, that the greatest share in the regeneration 
of the philosophical sciences amongst the Arabs is owing to them. 
All armillary spheres and other astronomical instruments were 
originally made by them ; and a number of Harranians distinguished 
themselves as translators or original authors, at the earliest period 
of Arabic literature, as Thabet Ben Korrah, his master in astro- 
nomy BenKamita UiA+5, el-Battam ^IxxJJ, Ibn er-Ruh _. ^\ 9 
the Sabean, and many others, which will be mentioned in another 
place of this book. 

* Hottinger devotes the eighth chapter of the first book of his 
Historia Orientalis to the exposition of the Sabean religion. He 
follows up his subject with much learning, and had a most excel- 
lent guide, having made use of the Fihirst of Mohammed Ben 
Ishak en-Nadim, (not el-Kadim or prisons as he writes,) known 
under the name of Abul-Faraj Ben Abi Ya'kub, who wrote in 
377, A,H., and died in 385. 

Hottinger knew neither the title of the book nor the age when 
the author lived. Both are of importance, for the date shows 
that he was contemporary with men who professed this religion; 
and to be the author of the Fihirst gives him the character of an 
exceedingly learned and exact writer. 

He lived most likely in Babylonia, and was thus in constant 
contact with Sabeans. We may therefore perfectly rely on what he 
says. His treatise on Sabeanism and other religions, forms the last 
chapter of the Fihrist; this is the third of the last volume, of 
which there is an ancient and perfectly correct MS. at Leyden. 


pery pretensions*, to the knowledge of ancient 
philosophy,, although they are uninstructed in the 

With more caution the extracts which Hottinger gives from 
Maimonides must be used. 

It has been advanced by Spencer (De Leg. Hebr.) that the 
Sabeans are very modern and not more ancient than Mohammed, 
for they are the first time mentioned in the Koran. Now Sabi is an 
Arabic word, applied to almost all Gentiles ; therefore, no wonder 
if the word is found only in the writings of Arabic or Rabbinical 
authors, and the Koran is the most ancient book in Arabic litera- 
ture, excepting some poems collected afterwards. Hamzah, of 
Ispahan, (MS. of Leyden,) informs us that the name of Sabeans 
meant originally a sect of Christians, and has not been applied to 
the Harranians before the time of el-Mamun, when they adopted 
this name in order to escape a prosecution. Still more pre- 
posterous is the opinion expressed in Calmet's Fragments, 
DC XIII., where Sabeism is derived from St. John the Baptist. 

Arabic authors who have lived with the Sabeans, state unani- 
mously that they worshipped principally the seven planets. Sup- 
posing this worship had been recently introduced in Harran, it was 
certainly ancient amongst their brethren the Canaanites, (both the 
Harranians and Canaanites spoke the Aramean language) ; for 
Manassah received from them the same religion (2 Kings, xxxiii.), 
we may therefore safely suppose that the Sabeans were not 
materially different from the Chaldeans, who are called astrologers 
on account of their star worship. Perhaps the Sabeans of Harran 
are the Orcheni of Strabo (Lib. xvi., p. 701), who were a sect 
of Chaldeans in Mesopotamia. 

Strabo and other Greek authors agree with the Arabs in 
making the Chaldeans astrologers and star worshippers ; but we 
have to account for the allusions made to them in the Scriptures, 
from which it might appear that they worshipped almost merely 

* Literally, " And are the rabble of ancient philosophers." 


wisdom of the Greeks (Chaldeans?), have 

idols. On examining the names of those idols, we find that they 
are the Semitic names of the planets. Aserah JTV10N <> r Astarte, 
is az-Zohrah syfc-JN the Arabic name for the planet Venus ; which 
was also called Balthi ^XxJ\ (Beltis in Greek authors). 
Thamus may be taken for shomus u*j.$JJ, plural of shams, the 
sun, for Adonis, with whom this deity is identified by Jerom, is 
the sun as well; Merodach is Merrikh, the name of the planet 
Mars in Arabic, the word is derived from mar ad ^w, which 
means to be rebellious both in Arabic and Hebrew; and as the 
original meaning of marad is the same as that of maras ^wo 
and marakh }<*, it seems that only mar is the primitive syllable, 
it is therefore not surprising to find the name of this planet 
written Merodach, Merrikh, and Mars. Nebo means a prophet, 
which is the name of Mercury or 'Utarid amongst the Sabeans; 
for this planet is the patron of the priestclass ; as it has already 
been noticed by Norberg, who establishes the fact by the testimony 
of the Syro-Chaldeans. 

Baal means lord, and is the name for Jupiter, but frequently 
applied to the sun ; perhaps some of the sects of Chaldeans con- 
sidered the sun as lord, and called it consequently Baal : the 
identity of Baal with Jupiter is confirmed by the testimony of 
Herodotus, which is worth more than that of all later authors, 
who transcribed one another as far as it suited their purpose, and 
referred in their learned ignorance to books and never to what 
they could have witnessed themselves. See also p. 1 99 supra note. 

More examples could be added and errors of mythologists cor- 
rected, but these will do for our purpose. The representations of 
the stars as idols, seem therefore to have been intended for the 
exoteric; for we must distinguish here more than with any other 
nation between the notions of the exoteric and those of the un- 
initiated. The reader will find a developement of the former 
in the additional notes to this chapter. 


adopted a gradation of the priests in their temples, 
which is an imitation of the system of the 
nine spheres*. The highest priest is called rds 

* El-Makrizi (MS. of the Earl of Munster, vol. iii., Korrah 
40) says nearly the same thing of the priests of ancient Egypt ; 
" A priest who has served the seven planets seven years, has the 
title Bahir jJ&L, and a priest who has served them forty-nine 
years, seven years each, has the title Katir k|y '> he enjoys such 
high honours that the king rises before him, allows him to sit 
down on his side, and consults him in every action which he does. 
Then the other priests come in, and with them the artisans, and 
stand opposite the Katir. Every one of their priests is exclusively 
destined for the service of one planet, and he must not pass to 
another. He is called a servant of such a planet, so one says 
the servant of the moon, the servant of Mercury, the servant 
of Venus, the servant of the sun, the servant of Mars, the servant 
of Jupiter, and the servant of Saturn. When they are all mar- 
shalled, the Katir says to one of them, Where is thy Lord to day ? 
and he answers, in such a sign of the zodiac, and in such a degree 
and minute. Then he asks the next, and so he goes through all 
of them ; and when he knows their position in reference to the 
sphere of the zodiac, he says to the king, you ought to do such 
and such a thing to-day: he tells him what he is to eat, when he 
may go into his harem, when he is to go on horseback, and so 
on, to the most minute thing. A secretary writes down every 
word that he says. Then the Katir turns to the artisans, and 
orders them what they are to do/' &c. 

f The word Stt^T is not in the copy of Cambridge. The 
variants between crotchets are all from the Cambridge copy. 


Komorr*. The Christians, who came after them, 
arranged the orders of priests in their hierarchy 
after the system which had been laid down by the 
Sabeans. The Christians call this gradation ordina- 


* This word is met with in the Scriptures (2 Kings, xxiii. 5, 
&c.), where it is exactly spelt as here "1D3. The Hebrew language 
does not afford an explanation of its meaning ; for those which 
have been advanced, as that it means black, or priest of the 
moon ^5 (o and not with a J), are not founded. In Arabic it 
means penis, or longum penem habens vir, and it is exceedingly 
likely that this word was taken in this meaning, for the office 
of the Komorr answered to that of Batrick, which represents, as 
we may observe, something higher than the ninth sphere. Arabic 
astrology, which is the daughter of the Pagan religions of Asia, 
places there the procreative power, which the Arabs sometimes 
call God, and sometimes the throne of God ; for an incorporeal 
being is not so well adapted to the system. In the first mean- 
ing, says our author, page 46, supra, " God commands, and there 
flows what he likes from heaven to heaven (or sphere to sphere)," 
&c. And in the second meaning, we read, in el-Kazwini, " Some 
Moslims make agree the revelation of God and the opinion of 
the philosophers, and think that this sphere is the stool, and the 
tenth sphere, which is the greatest of all, is the throne of God." 


tion (el-'Atab). The first (lowest) order is es-Salt*, 

* The Salt answers to the Ostiarius in the Roman degrees 
of ordination, and to the sphere of the moon, in ancient astrology. 
As it may lead to interesting comparisons between the exoteric 
notions and the various forms under which they were made 
available to the uninitiated, the characteristics of the seven 
spheres and planets are detailed in this and the following notes 
after Abu Ma'sher, Balinos, and el-Kazwmi, and occasionally 
their views have been compared with those of the Greeks, and of 
the Zend-Avesta, to show the identity of ancient religions, philo- 
sophy, and astrology. 

The moon is a female planet (Zendavesta, vol. ii., 382; 
Arist. Hist. Anim., vii., 2; Pliny, lib. ii., 104), and has an affi- 
nity with the female element the water which she attracts ; and 
hence she causes the tide (Zendav., tome ii., 370, 385 ; Pliny, 
ibidem). She is the concentration of light, and was, before the 
introduction of Greek astronomy amongst the Arabs, believed to 
shine with her own light (Zendavesta, vol. ii., 18, and p. 80, 
supra). She is the planet which gives fertility, increases the 
seed, animal warmth, and affection (Zendavesta, i. 26, p. 426 ; 
Aristotle, de Generat. Animalium, ii. 4). To the moon silver is 
sacred amongst the metals, and white amongst the seven colours, 
every one of which, it seems, was considered to be fixed in a 
metal, and sacred, together with the respective metal, to one of 
the seven planets. All white or grey animals, of a meek tem- 
per, are equally consecrated to her, particularly such birds, also 
mules, fruit-trees, &c. The sphere of the moon is the isthmus of 
immortality ; under it is the fire and air (atmosphere) of the earth, 
which is mutable ; but above the moon everything is pure and 
divine (supra lunam pura omnia ac diuturnae lucis plena: Pliny, 
lib. ii., cap. 7) : hence she is called the gate of the heaven, and 


the second Aghsat *, the third Nudakirf, the 

the order of priests sacred to her sphere must naturally be the 
Ostiarius, or Porter. 

The moon, considered as a goddess, is frequently not distin- 
guished from Venus. 

* To this order answers the atmosphere, or sphere of Mer- 
cury, which is three hundred and eighty-eight thousand four 
hundred and eighty-miles thick. The planet itself is described as 
radians by Pliny (ii., 29), an epithet which is equally given to 
the sun by the same author. It is probably this quality of diffus- 
ing its rays which has also been noticed by astrologers, that this 
planet is considered to diffuse the light of wisdom and knowledge. 
He is the god of penmanship XjlxXf \, and a child born under the 
influence of this planet will be meek and clever. It was, at all 
events, a correct notion, that the next step after the gate of the 
heaven should be the pons asinorum, and that wisdom should be 
the first degree in heaven, and in the hierarchy within the gate : 
hence this order in the Catholic Church is called Lectorship, and 
the Lector receives a book at the Ordination. The astrologers 
are probably equally right in calling the patron of the Savans 
and priests cJi^UU (the unprincipled, or hypocrite). They say 
that he adds energy both to lucky and unlucky constellations, as 
he happens to meet them. 

) This order answers to the sphere of Venus, which is three 
million seven hundred and ninety-five thousand and ninety- two 
miles thick. The lovely star which animates this sphere, and 
keeps always near the sun like a lover, and approaches to him, or 
recedes for a short time like a coquette, was represented as the 


fourth Shemasheryam *, the fifth Kissis f, the sixth 

beauty of the heavens at all times and by all nations. Arabic 
astrologers call her the lesser luck JU^M <>sx*JJ, and ascribe to 
her influence mirth and love. Pliny and the Zend-books agree 
with them in assigning to her the procreative (not generative) 
power. To this star brass was sacred, and the green colour 
(verdigris); also fish, serpents, bees, grapes, sparrows. The 
ancient Christian Church seems to have found no higher ideas 
respecting the lucky influence of this star amongst the Sabeans, 
than that it averts evil; hence this order has the power of 
destroying the bad effects of evil spirits, and the priests of this 
order are called Exorcistes in Greek and Latin. If there was no 
other evidence of the mixed nature of the Ritual of the Romish 
Church, the gross superstition of having an order of exorcists 
would be proof enough. 

* The Greek name of the order is Acoluthos (follower) : he 
has the same office as the clerk in the Anglican Church. The 
order answers to the sphere of the sun, which is ten million one 
hundred and seventy-six thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight 
miles thick, and was considered as the mediator, as will be shown 
in the additional notes. The Acoluthos is the highest of the four 
minor orders, and is also the mediator between the people and 
higher orders, as the sun between the lower and higher planets. 

f The sphere which corresponds with this order is that of 
Mars, which is ten million one hundred and seventy-six thousand 
nine hundred and ninety-eight miles thick. The blood-red colour 
of this planet has brought it into discredit with astrologers, who 
call it the lesser misfortune JU^J y**^\J!, besides its course 
appeared to the ancients (Pliny, ii., cap. 15) so irregular, that 


Barduth *, the seventh Huzabiskatos f : he is after 

they are justified in calling him the Marikh, rebellious. He is 
the god of iron, and the red colour (peroxyde of iron), of war, 
lions, tigers, hyaenas, of the Turks, and everything terrible. 
Under his protection are birds of a red colour, and the lapwing 
\^>J^J!, which is one of the best known ill omens in Oriental 

* This order was the representation of the sphere of Jupiter, 
and is called Diaconate in Greek and Latin. I am not suffi- 
ciently acquainted with its office and ceremonies to know its 
relation to this sphere. Jupiter is the greatest of all the planets, 
and if the ether was the essence of the heavens, and the stars 
like the souls of the ether, this star had a natural claim to be the 
lord of all other planets. The astrologers call him the great 
luck rS$\ JuuJl* and ascribe to him all the good. To Jupiter, 
blue (the colour of the sky), and copper (vitriol, or sulphate of 
copper), is sacred ; also emerald, onyx, jasper, ruby, and all sorts 
of precious stones ; farther musk, wheat, and every thing that is 

f This order represents the highest of all the planetary 
spheres ; that of Saturn, which is twenty-one million six hundred 
and six miles thick. Saturn is represented as an old man, and 
this is the name of this order in the ancient Christian Church; 
for Presbyter has the same signification. Arabic astrologers call 
Saturn the great misfortune jS$\ ^r^xM, and Pliny seems to 
think that this planet must be cold and dreary, on account of its 
great distance from the sun. 

To Saturn the heavy and ignoble metal lead, and black is 
sacred, and all unclean animals, as pigs, dogs, &c. 

[The Reader 


the Bishop. The eighth is the Akkaf *; the ninth 
is the Mitran (Metropolitan), which means the 
head of the town. And above all these ranks is 
the Batric (Patriarch), which means father of the 
fathers, or of the mentioned orders, and the laymen. 

The reader will find in the additional notes to this chapter at 
the end of this volume, more philosophically accounted for, the 
qualities attributed to the spheres of the heaven and the planets. 

* This is a corruption of eVto-KOTroy, Bishop, or literally who 
inspects from above. This appellation is very well chosen ; for 
the order represents the signs of the zodiac which do look down 
from above on the planets. 

f I transcribed the copy of Mr. Gayangos, with all its faults 
in order to give to the reader the variants which it presents in the 
names of the orders: 


Lo ^C l^Jol^ ^ Xi^Xfj XA-J^J <Sj\*s>\\ 


This is the opinion of the Esoteric Christians 
respecting these orders ; but the Exoteric give other 
reasons, alleging that a king had introduced them 
and other things which it would be useless to 
relate. These are the orders of the Melikites 
(Orthodox), who form the main body, and are the 
original Christians ; for the Eastern Christians, or 
'Ibad*, who are called Nestorians and Jacobites, are 
branches of them, and their imitators. The Chris- 
tians took, as we have said, the whole of the insti- 

* Other Arabic authors take the name 'Ibadites in a more 
limited sense, applying only to the Christians of el-Hirah. 

Q 2 


tution of their orders from the Sabeans: Kissis, 
Shemas, and other ranks. 

Manes rose as Heresiarch after the Messiah, 
and Ibn ed-Dai'san and Marcion followed his ex- 
ample. From Manes the Manicheans have their 
name ; from Marcion the Marcionites ; and from 
Ibn ed-Daisan the Daisanites. In subsequent times 
rose from them the Mozdakians, and other sects, 
who follow the Dualistie doctrine. 

The reader will find in our books,, the Akhbar 
ez-zeman, and the Kitab el-ausat, a number of 
anecdotes respecting these sects, and an account of 
the fabulous stories which they tell, and of their 
laws which they assign to God, although they are 
made by man. We have also treated on these 
sects in our book " On the various opinions on the 
principles of religion ^\ J c^UiU ^ V UT 
CjUUx!!. We have spoken of the books of these 
religious opinions, and the destruction of these 
sects, in our work entitled the "Explanation of 



the principles of religion" 
In these chapters we enter on the points on which 
scholastic theology dwells, and which are the prin- 
ciple objects to be described. We allude only to 
striking facts, by way of narrative, and with the 
view to give an insight into the history of the sects, 
lest this book should be found defective in such in- 
formation respecting them, as a well-informed man 
ought to know; but we do not mean to enter into 
any polemic discussions. 



A concise account of seas that have changed their 
places, and of great rivers. 

THE author of the Logic <JikzJ,J (Aristotle) says, 
that the seas change their places in the lapse of 
centuries and the length of ages. And indeed all 
seas are in a constant motion; but if this motion is 
compared with the volume of water, the extent of 
their level, and the depth of their abysses, it is as if 
they were quiet. There is, however, no place on 
earth that is ever covered with water nor one that is 
ever land, but a constant revolution takes place 
effected by the rivers which may run in one place 
or discontinue their course, for this reason the 
places of sea and land change, and there is no 
place on earth always land nor always sea. At 
periods there will be land where there once has been 
sea; and the sea will occupy what one time has been 
land. These revolutions are caused by the course 
and origin of the rivers,, for places watered by 
rivers have a period of youth and decrepitude, of 
growth and of life and death, like animals and plants, 
with the difference that growth and decay in plants 


and animals do not manifest themselves now in one 
part and then in another, but all parts grow 
together, so they wither and die at the same time. 
But the earth grows and declines part by part. 
This is also connected with the revolutions of the 

The learned are at variance about the rivers and 
springs, and their origin. Some are of opinion that 
all have the same ultimate source, namely, the 
greatest sea. This is the sea 'adab c_> xc j^e, and 
not the Okianos (the Atlantic). Others suppose 
that the water is in the earth in the same way as the 
veins in the body. Some reason thus : It is a law of 
nature that the surface of the water be level, but 
as the earth is in some places high and in others 
deep, the water goes to the deepest part, and when 
it is enclosed in caverns it has a tendency to form 
steam, which produces a pressure on the earth from 
beneath ; it gushes forth and gives origin to springs 
and ( rivers. Frequently water is the product of the 
air which is in the bowels of the earth, for water is 
no element djJU&wf o-rot%etoz/), but it is the product 
of the rottenness* and the exhalations of the earth. 
We forbear mentioning here the various controver- 
sies which are extant on this head for fear of tres- 

* X>*A This is a medical term which means gangrene, and 
implies the last stage of inflammation which precedes it. 


passing our limits, for we mean to abridge what we 
have said in other works in detail. 

Much has been said on the beginning, course, 
length, and end of large rivers; like the Nile,, the 
Euphrates, the Tigris, the river of Balkh or Jaihun, 
the river Mihran j,|^-o in es-Sind JsJUJJ cSo^-*' 
the Ganges <j~s^> which is a large river in India, 
and the Atanabus u*oUkJ (Danube), which falls 
into the sea Nitus (Black Sea), and other large 
rivers. I saw in the geography (of Ptolemy), a 
drawing of the Nile as it comes forth from the 
mountain el-Komr j$\ J,**-, rising from twelve 
sources ; then the water falls into two lakes which 
are like the marshes (of Babylonia between Wasit 
and el-Basrah) ; further on the water is collected in 
its course into one stream which passes sandy 
districts, and (on the foot of) mountains. It pro- 
ceeds, flowing through that part of the country of the 
Sudan (Negroes), which borders on the country of 
the Zanj, and a branch g^L goes off from it into 
the sea of the Zanj ^'^j^ This is the sea of the 
island Kanbalu* which is well cultivated, and the 
inhabitants are Moslims but they speak the Zanjee 
language. The Mahomedans have conquered this 
island and made the inhabitants prisoners, just as 
they have taken the isle of Crete (jiJajjj'J in the 

* The MS. bears 


Mediterranean. This happened at the beginning of 
the 'Abbaside and end of the Omaiyide dynasties. 
From this island to 'Oman, the distance is, according 
to the account of the sailors, about five hundred 
farsangs by sea. This however is a mere conjecture, 
and not geometrically measured. Many of the sailors 
of Smlf and 'Oman who visit this sea, say, that they 
found in it, at or before the time when the Nile 
increases in Egypt, different colours within the 
small space in which the river continues its course 
in the sea, for it forces its way to some distance on 
account of its rapidity. The river comes from the 
mountains of the Zanj and is above a mile wide. 
The water is sweet and becomes muddy at the time 
of the increase. There live in it susmdr (alliga- 
tors) ^Uw^xJ! which means crocodiles like those in 

the Nile of Egypt, they are also called Warl ^\. 
El-Jahit supposes that the river Mihran in 
es-Sind is the Nile, alleging as a proof that cro- 
codiles live in it. I cannot understand how this 
proof can be conclusive. This he states in his book 
" on the leading cities and the wonders of the coun- 
tries" (^tXXxJJ 4-^b^^La^^! i_>ur. It is an excel- 
lent work, but as he has never made a voyage and few 
journies and travels through kingdoms and cities, 
he did not know that the Mihran of es-Sind comes 
from the well-known sources of the highland of es- 
Sind, from the country belonging to Kinnauj 


in the kingdom of Budah **#, and of Kashmir 
5, el-Kandahar ^Lfrjafl!, and et-Takin (sfU&\ 
, the tributaries which rise in these coun- 
tries run to el-Multan and from thence the united 
river receives the name Mihran. El-Multan 
^lU^U means meadows of gold. The King of 
el-Multan is a Kora'ishite, and of the children of 
Osamah Ben Lawi Ben Ghalib ^j c5>J ^j 2UL-J 
-*Jlc. His dominion extends as far as the frontier 
of Khorasan. The lord of the kingdom of el- 
Mansurah ^y^JLtJ! is a Koraishite, who is descended 
from Habbar Ben el-Aswad* Jy-^J ^^ J^ 9 who 
has been one of their t kings. The crown of el- 
Multan has been hereditary, in the family which 
rules at present, since ancient times, and nearly 
from the beginning of the Islam. 

From el-Multan the river Mihran takes its 
course to the country of el-Mansurah, and falls 
about ed-Daibol into the Indian ocean. In this sea 
are many crocodiles, for it has several estuaries and 
gulfs as the estuary of Sindabur j^^^o (^^tX^) 
in the kingdom of Baghar ^L (L>.) in India; 

' The reader finds a notice of this family in Reiske's notes 
to Abulpeda's Historia Islamitica. Vol. I. 

f El-Mansurah is taken as the name of the inhabitants, and 
for this reason the plural is used here. Compare the note to p. 
176, supra. 


the estuary of ez-Zanj in the dominions of the 
Maharaj and the gulfs of el-A'nab v Us^M (grapes), 
which extend towards the island Serendib (Ceylon). 
The crocodiles live particularly in sweet water, and, 
as we said, in the estuaries of India the water of 
which is for the most part sweet, on account of the 
streams which arise from rain and fall in them. 

Now we return to the description of the Nile of 
Egypt. The philosophers say, that its course on 
the face of the earth, through cultivated and waste 
countries, is nine hundred or one thousand farsangs 
before it comes to Oswan in Upper Egypt. The 
boats from el-Fostat go as far up the river as 
Oswan ; but some miles from Oswan are mountains 
and rocks, and as the Nile takes its course through 
the midst of them, the navigation is rendered 
impracticable. These rocks form the line of separa- 
tion between the Nile navigation of the Abyssinians 
and Moslims. This part of the Nile has the name 
of huge stones and rocks j^*aJi ^jUij (cataracts). 
Having passed through Upper Egypt the Nile comes 
to el-Fostat. It passes the mount et-Tilemun 

^^^wJaM, and the dam of el-Lahun ^yfc&H at el- 
Fayyum. In this place is the island which Joseph 
had chosen for himself and which was granted to 
him kju. The history of Egypt, of the landed 
property there, and the buildings raised by Joseph, 
will be related in the thirty-first chapter. As the 


Nile continues its course it is divided into many 
branches which go to Tinms, Dimyat, Rashid, and 
el-Iskandariyah (Alexandria), but the canal which 
goes to Alexandria had no water previous to the 
inundation of this year 332. I have heard [I am in 
Antakiyah (Antioch) and the Syrian frontiers], that 
the Nile rose to eighteen cubits, but I do not know 
whether the water runs through the canal of Alex- 
andria or not. 

Alexander, the son of Philip of Macedonia, 
has built Alexandria on this branch of the Nile. 
The most part of the water of this river had then 
its course to it, and irrigated the country round 
Alexandria and Maryut ^^, so that it was in the 
most flourishing state of cultivation, and an unin- 
terrupted line of gardens extended from Maryut to 
Barkah Xi^j in the Maghrib. Vessels went up the 
Nile, and came down as far as the markets of 
Alexandria. The bed of the Nile in the town was 
paved with stones and granite. In subsequent 
times the water deposited so much mud that the 
canal was filled, and the passage of the water ob- 
structed. Others assign a different cause, which 
rendered it impossible to keep the bed of the canal 
clear. We cannot enter on their opinions ; for 
the plan of our book excludes such details. The 
Alexandrians began to drink the water of wells ; 
for the Nile runs about one day's journey from 
Alexandria. We shall give a full historical account 


of this town in the chapter devoted to the descrip- 
tion of Alexandria. 

The water which, as we stated, falls into the 
sea of the Zanj, forms an estuary, which comes 
to the upper part of the course of this river through 
the country of the Zanj, arid separates this country 
from the remotest provinces of Ahyssinia. If it was 
not for this gulf, interjacent deserts, and marshes, 
the Abyssinians could not defend their country 
against the Zanj ; for they are superior in numbers 
and bravery. 

The river of Balkh, which has the name Jaihun 
(Oxus), rises from several sources, and, having 
passed et-Tirmid xy3J, Asfarayin ^y.iyu-k and 
other places of Khorasan, it takes its course 
through Khowarezm : there in several places it 
branches off: the rest falls into a lake, on which 
the town of el-Jorjaniyah X/JU*^it is situated in the 
lowest part of Khowarezm. This is the greatest 
lake there, and many believe that it is the greatest 
lake in the cultivated world; for it is about one 
month's journey long and wide. There is some 
navigation carried on in this lake : it also receives 
the river* of Ferghanah and esh-Shash, which runs 
through the country of el-'Adat cihUSJ and the 

* The Sirr Suyi ^y0\~* of the Tatars, and Sa'ihun 
of the Arabs. 


town of Hai's JJMA^, on which boats go down 
into the lake. On this river the Turkish city 
named Newtown x>xiJ &j<x (Yanghi Kant) is 
situated, amongst the population of which are some 
Moslims; but the majority are Turks. The popu- 
lation of this place consists of Ghizians*, who are 

* One copy bears XxKxJJ, and another 3o JJ. Isstachri 
places there the *jjy \ 1 this seems to be more correct, and is 
confirmed by the author of the Oriental Geography, who writes 
. They are, therefore, the nations whose name is spelt Ghozz 
in the Kamus, and Ghiz in the Jagata'i dictionary printed at Cal- 
cutta, and who are better known in Western Asia under the name 
of Seljiiks, as the founders of several dynasties, and, in their 
original site, under the name Kirghiz, as nomades. Kir jo 
means a plain, and Kirghiz ytro a Ghiz of the desert, or a 
nomade. They took this name probably in contradistinction of 
their brothers, who were at Bagdad domineering slaves ; and at a 
subsequent period servile masters over almost all the Moham- 
medan dominions. For this reason the addition Kir to the name of 
the Ghiz seems to be comparatively modern, although Abulghaziy 
connects them with Oghuz-Khan. This seems to be confirmed by 
the Chinese writers, who call them Ha-Kya-szu (pronounced 
Hakas) in ancient times, and Ki-li-ki-szu, which is pronounced 
Kilgis since the thirteenth century. As the names Kirghis and 
Seljuks came into use, the name Ghiz Oghuz or Hakas disappeared. 

Before we go further in the history of the name Ghiz, it is 
necessary to make a few remarks on its sound and the way in which 
this sound is expressed by different writers and in the various 
compounds in which we meet it. The first letter is g. This 


mostly nomades; but some are settled. They are 
Turks by origin, and divided in three hordes dU^t, 
the higher, middling, and lower horde. These are 

letter is not in the Arabic alphabet, hence Abulghaziy (p. 26 
of the Tatar text.) writes the name Kirghiz in three different ways ; 
yfjS' KirJciz, yij*S Ckirghiz, and \.A3j3 CkircMz. The 
same author informs us further that g is pronounced by some 
Tatar tribes like j, and that they spell Kipjak (or Kapjak) 
oLsEVJ, and Jipjak oUs^V The second letter has the same 

V * V * 

sound as the u in French and the v in Greek, and which, in Greek 
as well as in Tatar words, is sometimes expressed by a Kasrah or i 
in Arabic, sometimes by a Dhammah or o, and sometimes by a 
^ or u. The third letter seems to be a z, but it would appear 

that some Tatar hordes pronounce it like th or t. The name of 
the Circassians (Jerkez), for instance, seems to have been pro- 
nounced Cercetse at the time of Pliny (vi., 5.) 

The Archbishop Siestrencewicz de Bohusz proves in his 
work, Sur Y Origins des Sarmates, Petersbourg, 1812, vol. iv., 
p. 637, with a host of testimonies from ancient authors, that the 
Scythians called themselves Goths, or Gots: this is, therefore, 
clearly the same name as Ghiz. The Archbishop derives from 
Goth the word Scyth, saying the S may have been added by the 
Greeks. He could have confirmed this conjecture by the exam- 
ple of some other name of the same nation, to which an S is pre- 
fixed, although the name of the man, from which it is derived, 
does not begin with an S. Herodotus (iv., cap. 6) derives 
namely the /Scolotes from Col (Colaxain). 

Eichwald (Alte Geogrophie des Kaspichen Meeres) identifies 
the Scythians with the Judes, and there can be no doubt that 
both names are only different pronunciations of the name Ghiz. 
We find the name Ghiz farther in the Getes, Tyragetes (or Getes 


the bravest of all Turks, and have the smallest eyes, 
and most diminutive stature. The author of the 
logic (Aristotle) observes, however, in the four- 

who lived on the Tyras), and Massagetes of the ancients, and in 
the Tunghiz, Targhiz, Taghizghiz, &c., of Oriental authors. It 
seems tliat 'he word Ghiz is pronounced like Gete in Tatary, and 
not a Greek corruption : hence we read Gete in the history of 
Timour (Transl. by Petis de la Crois, vol. i., p. 26), which 

is written 3uj=. Jitta in the Persian original (MS. of theEarl of 
Munster). The identity of the Kirghiz with the Massagetes of 
Herodotus is shown by their geographical position, and confirmed 
by Chinese authors, who give the same account of them as 

Although the Massagetes of Herodotus and other classics, 
and the Ghozz, Kirghiz, &c., of Oriental authors, are undoubtedly 
of Tatar origin, it has been proved by Eichwald, that the Getes 
and Tyragetes of the classics were Slavonians. It seems, there- 
fore, that the name Ghiz or Gete, which is so widely spread in 
Central Asia, and which has been so sacredly preserved since the 
most ancient times, applied originally rather to a religion than to 
a nation, to which the Budini (Buddhists?) seem to have been 
opposed. In this case the name of the Goths may not be different 
from that of Ghiz. We find that Arabic authors use the name 
Ghozz and Turk indiscriminately: as Turk is undoubtedly the 
name of the Tatar race, the other must have originally meant 
their religion, the founder of which was most likely Oghuz Khan 
^jUi^E^. As this note is already too long, we reserve it for 
the additional notes to say something more on this man and reli- 
gion. The division of the Ghiz into three hordes, of which 
our author speaks, is still existing, notwithstanding their numerous 
emigrations; and it seems to have existed as early as the time 


teenth and eighteenth books of his work on the 
animals ^j^JL^, where he speaks of the bird 
called el-Gheranik ui^\^ (yepavos the crane), that 
there are some Turks who are of a still smaller 
size*. The reader will find an account of all the 
Turkish hordes in occasionally interspersed notices, 
and under a peculiar head further on in this 

The town of Balkh has a Ribatf , named el- 
Ahashban ^U&^J (^Uo^j), about twenty days' 

when they made the inroad into Persia, recorded by Herodotus ; 
for his Massagetes are undoubtedly the Getes, or Ghiz, of the 
great horde ; masa means great in Pehlewi ; and we cannot doubt 
that Herodotus derives his knowledge of the fact from the 

* Aristotle, Historia Animalium, viii. cap. 12. says, the cranes 
go from the Scythian steppes to the marshes above Egypt, from 
which the Nile comes, and fight with the Pigmies. The Arabic 
translator seems to have correctly rendered the word Scythians 
by Turks; but he has misunderstood the passage in placing the 
Pigmies in Scythia, and making them Turks. 

-(- Ribat kU . is a frontier place, exposed to the invasions of 
those who have not embraced the Islam. In order to form in 
such places an armed population, for the defence of the Moslim 
territory, some worldly advantages, all possible privileges in 
heaven, and the title tajL~ were attached to a residence in them. 
Most divines declare a place where the unbelievers have once 
made an invasion, as a Ribat for two years; after the second 
inroad, for forty years; and after a third invasion, for ever 
(Hidayah, and its commentary the Kefayah). 



journey from the city, in the most distant of its 
dependencies. Beyond this Ribat live various un- 
believing nations, as the Turks, called Ukhan* 
j,U^ (^U^J); and Tubbet ciuJ south of these 
Turks are others, named Inghan ^Uut (Talighan?f). 
In their country rises a great river, which bears the 
name River of Inghan J ^Uwt ^J O&Q- Some 
persons, who are acquainted with those localities, 
believe that it is the beginning of the river of JBalkh, 
or the Jaihun. The length of its course is about 
one hundred and fifty farsangs : some make it four 
hundred farsangs, from the beginning of the river 
of the Turks, that is to say, the Inghan. Geogra- 
phers who think that the Jaihun falls into the 
Mihran (Indus) of es-Sind, are wrong . We 

* Perhaps they are the Ouhoun of Deguignes, Histoire de 
Huns, vol. ii. pp. 24 and 50, or the Auchatae of Herodotus, iv. 6. 

f Burnes' Travels to Bokhara, vol. ii. p. 202. 

J Isstachri, p. 114, gives to the main stream of the rivulets, 
which form the Jaihun, the name of L ^ ly-j and to the country 
whence it comes from, that of loW 1 ^ Wajan, on the frontier of 
Badakhshan. This is probably a more correct reading than 

This is the opinion of the Zend-Avesta (p. 392), and it 
came probably from the Guebers to the Mohammedans : " Le 
Veh roud passe dans le Khorassan, parait dans la terre de Sind, 
et coule dans le Zare de 1'Hindoustan; la on 1'appelle le Mehra 
roud." And p. 393, " Le Veh roud est encore appelle Kase;" 
car dans le Sind on 1'appelle Kase." And again, " Le Kase va 


will not speak here of the Black and White 

dans la ville de Tous; la on 1'appelle le Casp roud." We have 
here three rivers, which form a semicircle, and separate Iran from 
three Keshvars, or climates : India, Tibet and China, (Frededafshe 
and Videdafshe), and from Tatary (Vorojereste?). The name 
for the whole line of water is Veh roud. Kase seems to be 
at the same time the Oxus (Jaihun), and the river of the 
Penjab, which rises near the sources of the Oxus. It is 
very likely that the name OPUS is formed from Kase by prefix- 
ing the Greek article 6, and subjoining the termination os. The 
Casp roud is the Ochus of the ancients. The opinion that the 
Oxus once fell into the Caspian, seems to owe its origin to the 
circumstance that the Guebers did not sufficiently distinguish the 
Oxus and Ochus. Mehra, or Mihran is still now the name 
of the lower course of the Indus. These three rivers had all the 
same importance for the Persians, as frontier, as well as in a 
commercial and agricultural point of view ; hence they said, for 
the sake of system, that the whole line of water falls into the 
Gulf of 'Oman, since the principal river has there its mouths. It 
appears, namely, that they had the idea that their sacred land was 
on all sides surrounded by rivers, and that the Veh roud, or 
south and eastern semicircle, corresponds with a north and western 
semicircle, called Arg roud, formed by the same sea and the Tigris 
with which they may have connected the A raxes. This will explain 
what is said in the Zend-Avesta, ii., p. 390: "Les deux rouds 
(the Arg roud, and Veh roud), de deux extremites, font la tour 
de toute la terre (of Iran), vont (passent) dans le Zare, et 
mangent tous les Keschwar. Ensuite tous les deux se jettent 
dans le Zare Ferakh Kand (the Sea of 'Oman, and Persian Gulf)." 
As the frontier of Iran [or rather the Khounnerets, i.e. 9 
Babylon (see p. 199, supra); for this idea being so wrong res- 
pecting eastern rivers, must have had its origin in the west] was 
extended, the Ochus was neglected in the north-east, and the 

R 2 


Arisht* o&Aj^l C*x>j\ ^ s^W ^^, on which the 
kingdom of Kai'makf Baighur % ^ybo ^V(u^) 
is situated, who are also Turks, beyond the river 
Jaihun. On these two rivers live the Ghaznians 
(Ghiz?) X/JytM (SujpjJl), who are equally Turks. 

Euphrates, and even the Nile, with the Mediterranean, were 
taken into account in the west. The Tigris (Arg roud) conti- 
nued, nevertheless, to be the sacred river, as it is in the Zend- 
Avesta; and even under the Khalifs, there was no Mohammedan 
festival celebrated with so much pomp as that on the Tigris, at the 
time of the summer solstice. The Tigris separated the sacred 
land from the three other Keshvars or climates; Arabia (Shave), 
the West and Egypt (Arze), Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (Vo- 
robereste?); so that it is literally true that these two lines of 
rivers water (mangent) all seven climates, or Keshvars. The 
division into these seven climates (which el-Mas'udi has described 
p. 199, supra) is, therefore, originally relative to the place where 
the division was made. 

As the Arg and Veh roud consist ultimately of four rivers, 
as many flow in the paradise of Moses. 

* If the nations on this river are the Uigurs, this name 
should be written Irtish, else it may be the Sirr (the Saihun of 
Arabic geographers, and the Jaraxes of Strabo), which is also 
called Ariss, or Arsh. 

-j- Perhaps it is the same name as the Ka'imar l^f mentioned 
by Abulghazi (Edit. Tatarica, Kasan, 1825) in the genealogy of 
the Turks as one of the fathers, which always means a tribe or 
nation. There is for the rest a Turkish horde of the name of 
Ka'imak, mentioned in the Jihannuma apud J. v., Hammer, 
Hist, de 1'empire Ottoman. 

| Probably ^yfcx-j instead of ,ybJ Ighur, or Uighur. 


Many tales are related about those two rivers. We 
do not know the length of their course. 

Various accounts are current respecting the 
Ganges u^s^*, which is the river of India: it rises 
in the mountains of the most remote parts of India, 
towards China, not far from the Turkish frontier, 
and falls, after a course of four hundred farsangs, 
into the Abyssinian Sea ^^^>sr, on the coast of 

The Euphrates ci|;iH has its sources in the 
country of Kalikala &u)|? (Arzen-er-Rum., vulgo 
Erzerum), on the Armenian frontier, from the 
mountains called Afradohosf yM^^! 
about one day's journey from Kali-kala 
The course of the Euphrates goes through the By- 
zantine territory, till it enters (into the Moslim 
territory) at Malatiyah jUkXx>. A Moslim, who has 
been a prisoner of war in the Christian countries, 
tells me that the Euphrates receives in its course 
through the Byzantine territory many tributaries. 
One of them comes from the lake of el-Mazerbun 
j which is the largest lake in the 

* The Mohammedans had lost sight of the Ganges when 
Alahmud of Ghiznah conquered India; and they called it then 
iT, after the Persian way of spelling, 
f Compare St. Martin, Mem. sur I'Armenie, vol. i., p. 45. 


Byzantine empire; for it is one month long 
and wide, or more. They ply boats on it. 

The Euphrates comes to Jasr Manbij ^y 
after it has passed the castle of Somaisat 
which is built of clay: then it comes to Balos L 
and passes Siff in ^^A*?, the field of the battle be- 
tween the Moslims of el-'lrak and Syria (under 
'Ali): farther on it passes er-Rakkah, er-Rahabah 
Su^ll, Hit iJlAx4>, and el-Anbar ^Uttl, In these 
places several canals are derived from it, like the 
'Isa canal, which passes Bagdad, and joins the 
Tigris. The Euphrates continues its course to Stir 
j**> G!***)> Kasr Ibn Hobairah SJAX* 
el-Kufah, el-Jami'in ^^lii, Ahmedabad(?) 

* el-Yerman j^N (u~j&\), and et-Tafuf 
; then it runs into the marshes between el- 
Basrah and el-Wasit. The whole course of the 
Euphrates is five hundred farsangs or more. The 
greatest part of the water of the Euphrates had 
once its course through el-Hirah: the bed may still 
be traced, and it has the name of 'Atik (ancient). 
On it was fought the battle between the Moslims and 
Rostam (at the time of 'Omar), called the battle of 
el-Kadesiyah. The Euphrates fell at that time 
into the Abyssinian sea, at a place which is now 
called en-Najaf cju?UJ ; for the sea came up to this 
place, and thither resorted the ships of China and 
India, destined for the kings of el-Hirah. Many 


ancient historians, who are well acquainted with 
the battle days of the Arabs, as Hesham Ben Mo- 
hammed el-Kelbi csvJKit, Abu Mokhnif Lut Ben 
Yahya, and esh-Sharki Ben el-Katami ^j ^*j~\\ 
^LkJfJ!, relate that the inhabitants of el-Hirah for- 
tified themselves in the white tower of el-Kadesiyah, 
and in that of the Beni Bokailah(or Bakilah) XXxJu csu, 
when Khaled el-Mekhzumi ^^^\ marched 
against them, in the reign of Abu Bekr, from el- 
Yemamah, with the victorious army which had 
slain the false prophet of the Beni Hanifah csu 
XJux-*. These were the towers of el-Hirah, which 
lay now [in 332 A.H.] in ruins, and nobody lives 
there. The site of the town is three miles from el- 
Kufah. When Khaled saw that the Hirians were 
fortifying themselves against him, he encamped his 
army not far from en-Najaf: he himself rode with 
Dhirar Ibn el-Azur el-Asadi er3w>^J j*$\ ^jjj ^\j*>, 
who was one of the Bedouin horsemen, to the city ; 
and they came to the tower of the Taghlebites 
j*. The Christians ^^Uc threw pots 
jjyaL on them, which made his horse shy. Dhirar 
said, "May God make thee quiet, for this is the 
greatest stratagem which they are prepared to 
make." Khaled returned to his camp, and sent 
to them that they should depute an intelligent 
aged man to him, that he could ask him about 
their affairs. They sent 'Abd el-Mesih Ben 'Amr 


Ben Kais Ben Hayyan Ben Bokailah el-Ghassani 
to him, who had built the white citadel. Bokailah 
had this name because he went out one day in a 
green silk dress ; and the people said, who is this 
bokailah? (herb XXJu). This is the same ' Abdul - 
Mesih who went to Satih <g&** el-Ghassani the 
soothsayer, to ask him about a dream of the 
Miibeds ^Jjw^U, and the earthquake which the 
palace of the Persian kings at Ctesiphon had sus- 
tained, and other things which had reference to the 
Sasanian kings. 

'Abd el-Mesih was then three hundred and fifty 
years of age when he came to Khaled. He was 
walking: Khaled looked at him when he drew near, 
and said, 

" Whence dost thou descend, O Sheikh?" 

He answered, " From the kidnies of my father." 

" Where dost thou come from?" 

" From the womb of my mother." 

"Where art thou?" 

" On the ground." 

" In what (place) art thou?" 

" In my clothes.'' 

" Art thou by reason or insane?" 

" Why, by God, I am a leader, (and therefore 
certainly an intelligent man)." 

" The son of how many art thou*?" 

* This is an Arabic idiom, meaning " of what age are you?" 


" The son of one man." 

" By God, I requested them to send a man of 
their city to me," said Khaled, " and they depute 
an idiot, who, if I ask one thing, answers another." 
" By God," replied the man of el-Hirah, " I answer 
precisely to thy questions, ask further." 

" Are you Arabs or Nabatheans?" 

" We are Nabathized Arabs, and Arabized 

"Do you wish for war or peace?'* 

16 For peace." 

" And what is the meaning of these fortifica- 

" They are built for mad people who are shut up 
in them till they come to their senses." 

" How many (years) are come over thee?" 

" Three hundred and fifty." 

" And what hast thou seen?" 

" I have seen the ships of the sea coming up to 
us in this deep country (cjbdli) with the goods of 
es-Sind and India: the ground which is now under 
thy feet was covered with the waves of the sea. 

* That is to say, we are agriculturists, retaining some Bedouin 
habits, for Arab c_^c means only a Bedouin; (See E. Lane's 
Modern Egyptians), and Nabathean J^J means as it will be 
shown in a note to the twentieth chapter, the agriculturists on the 
skirt of the desert, of Bedouin origin. 


Look how far we are at present from the shore. I 
remember that a woman might set out with her 
basket on her head, and would find the whole coun- 
try in so flourishing a state, covered with villages, 
plantations, trees, and cultivation, intersected with 
canals and ponds full of water, as far as Syria, that 
she would not require more than one cake for her 
provision*; What is it now? It is destroyed and 
desert. So God visits his servants and country." 

Khaled, and all who were present, were asto- 
nished at what they had heard. They recollected 
the name of 'Abdel-Mesih, for he was famous 
amongst the Arabs for his great age and sound 

They say he had a poison with him, the effects 
of which were instantaneous. 

Khaled asked him, " What hast thou here? " 

11 Virulent poison," was his answer. 

11 What wilt thou do with it?" 

* The reader must bear in mind that it is a duty in the east 
commanded by feelings and sacred by habit, religion, and honour, 
to be hospitable to strangers. Hence it is only in deserts that they 
carry their provisions with them. 

Other authors describe in similar terms the nourishing state in 
which the Ahkaf has once been, saying, that the palm-trees were 
so fertile and abundant, that if a woman went out of doors with a 
basket and put it down, she would find it after a while full of dates, 
wherever it may have stood, and without any exertion on her part. 
Perhaps the words of our author had originally the same meaning. 


He answered, " I took it with me with the in- 
tention that if I should receive such proposals from 
thee as may be agreeable to me and favourable for 
my countrymen. I would accept them and praise 
God for them, (and not take the poison). But in 
the contrary case, that I might not be the first 
who returned home laden with disgrace and sorrow, 
I intended to devour this poison and to quit this 
world, for only a short time more is allotted to 

" Give it to me," ordered Khaled, and took it 
in the palm of his hand, saying, " In the name of 
God, and by God, in the name of the Lord of heaven 
and earth, in the name of the Almighty, in whose 
name nothing on earth goes wrong." After he had 
pronounced these words he devoured it ; he immedi- 
ately fainted away, and his chin sank on his chest. 

They opened his clothes ; he recovered and was 
full of vigour. 

The 'Ibadite returned to his people. He was an 
'Ibadite ^j JUr by religion, which means a Nestorian 
Christian. When he came into the town he said, 
" O people, I come from the Satan ; he has devoured 
poison of which the effects are instantaneous, and it 
has not done him the least harm ; do what you can 
to have him far from your town." 

"They are a people full of ardour, and their cause 
is rising, whilst that of the Sasanians is sinking. 
This religion will have a success which will extend 


over all the earth, but corruptions will creep into it." 
They made peace with Khaled under the condition 
that they should pay one hundred thousand dirhems, 
and wear a black sash ^LJUlaJJ yt^ ^Ls (rolled 
round their heads, and hanging down behind as a 
humiliating mark of distinction from the Moslims.) 
Khaled broke off from es-Kirah, and said the fol- 
lowing verses on the subject. 

" How is it possible that after the Mondirs a 
price should be laid on (the two splendid palaces of 
the kings of el-Hirah) el-Khawarnak u&jjsi \ and 
es-Sodair ^*XwJJ, although they are protected by 
the horsemen of every tribe, against the roaring 
lion. And how comes it that I should pasture in 
the gardens between (the canals of) Marrah *^o 
and el-Jofair j>*4-\. We were become (united) like 
the flock on a rainy day, after the (tribe) Abu- 
Kais have perished. We have slain the Ma* add 
tribes in open combat like camels destined to be 
sacrificed. We raise tribute like the Kings of Per- 
sia, and it is paid to us by the (Jewish tribes of 
Khaibar), the Beni Korai'tah j&jjjiJl, and en-Nad- 
hir j#ti\. So the chances which lay in the bosom 
of time are uncertain, to-morrow may bring joy or 


We have inserted this story here in confirmation 
of our statement, respecting the changing places of 
the seas and the shifting of the waters and rivers in 


the course of time, and daring the lapse of ages. 
When the waters did not run any longer to this 
place the sea became land, and at present there is a 
distance of several days between el-Hirah and the 
sea. Whoever has seen the Najaf will fully enter 
into our views. 

In the same way the Tigris has changed its 
course; there is a great distance between the pre- 
sent course of the river and the dry bed which is 
stopped by the sand, and called Batn el-fauhi 
gf=L\ L .J*j ; it runs close on the town of Bados u^L, 
in the district of Wasit of el-Irak to Dafiri 
turning towards Sus u*^ in Khuzistan < 
whilst the new bed passes east of Baghdad, at a 
place called Rakkah esh-Shemasiyah 3u*U&!J >,; 
and an inundation has brought the river to the west 
where it runs at present between Kotrobbol Jo^k* 
and the Town of peace (Bagdad), so that it passes 
the villages called el-Kobb v^* esh- Shark! &j"&9 
and other estates, which belong to Kotrobbol. The 
inhabitants of these places have had a law -suit, with 
those of the eastern side, who are in possession of 
Rakkahesh-Shemasiyah, in the reign of el-Mokta- 
der, in the presence of his Vizier, Abul-Hasan 'Ali 
Ben 'Isa. What well-informed men have deposed 
at this occasion, and what we have stated are facts 
which are well known at Bagdad. If the water 
changes its course in about thirty years the seventh 


part of a mile it will make nearly one mile in two 
hundred years ; and if the water of a river retires 
four hundred cubits from its original place, this 
place will be waste. Through these causes places 
are rendered uncultivated, and if the water finds a 
declivity or a descent it widens by its course and 
rapidity the bed as it carries the ground away to an 
immense distance, and wherever it finds a wide and 
low place it fills it and forms lakes, marshes, and 
lagunas. By these means places which have been 
cultivated become deserts, and those which were 
without cultivation become cultivated. Everybody 
of common sense will understand and appreciate 
what we have said. 

El-Mas'udi says, all historians who possess just 
ideas respecting the history of the world and its 
kings, know, that in the year in which the Prophet 
of God sent messengers to the Kisra ^^J**, and 
this was the seventh year after his flight from 
Mekka to Medinah, the Euphrates and Tigris were 
so much swelled that they never had been so before; 
the water made immense breaches and holes which 
were greater than the canals, and as the canals 
could not hold the water the dams and mounds gave 
way, and the water filled the lower country. 

The Persian King, Abrawaiz ^^ (Perwiz), 

* This is the Arabic pronunciation of the Persian title 
Khosraw j^.**i, which means possessed of an extensive kingdom. 


endeavoured to confine the water again, to repair 
the dams, and to open the trenches olj^Lfc; but 
he was unable to control the river, it took its course 
towards the place where, in our time, are the 
marshes. The cultivation and fields were sub- 
merged, and whole districts were changed into the 
marshes which are there at present, his exertions to 
stop it being inefficient. The Persians were soon 
after occupied with the Arabic wars; the water 
broke through its limits, and nobody could turn his 
mind to the reparation of the dams, so the marshes 
became wider and more extensive. 

When Mo'awiyah had come to the Khalifat he 
appointed his adoptive 'Abdullah Ben Derraj *XAC 

&\j* cj^ ^ over the tribute of el-'Irak, and he 
raised from the lands on the marshes fifteen million 
(of Dirhems*) worth by cutting the reeds grown in 
these marshes, and taking the whole as property of 
the state. In subsequent times the water made 
more breaches through the dams and mounds, and 
when Hassan en-Nabti, the adoptive of the Beni 
Dhobbah, was revenue cellector under the Khalifat 

* Arabic authors frequently mention the sums without stating 
what sort of money is meant. In these cases it is a general rule 
that Dinars are understood if they speak of those countries which 
had been under the sway of the Byzantine empire ; and Dirhems, 
if the provinces in question had formed part of the Persian 


of el-Walid for Hejjaj Ben Jusof, he gained some 
lands from the marshes. 

The whole extent of the marshes which the 
water occupies at present, is about fifty far sang s 
long and as many broad. In the centre is a round 
place in which the ground rises; this is a city 
covered with water, and if the water is clear one may 
see at the bottom the ruins of buildings; some 
stones are still standing in their place whilst others 
have fallen down. One may still trace the plan of 
the buildings. The same is the case with the lake 
of Tinnis and Dimyat (Damietta) , in which may be 
seen the farms and towns as we have related in 
another place in this book, and in other works. 
Now we will resume our subject and describe the 
Tigris, its sources, course, and mouths. It comes 
from the country of Amid <x*J, which belongs to 
Diar Bekr, but the sources are in the country of 
Khelat k&^, which forms part of Armenia. It 
receives various tributaries as Sarit k> >r -o (^uy*) 
and Satid JuSU-, which come from the country of 
Arzan, and Mayyaf arikin (^b'Uc ; and other rivers, 
as the river Dusha l^J, el-Khabur, which comes 
from Arminiah, and falls between the country of 
Masura* and Faiz-Sabur f , in the countries of 

or \ jy * or 
j or jUai' or 


Kerda and Bazenda*, into the Tigris, and the 
A'wari cf j}Z\ (jJv$L>), which comes from el-Mausil 
and its dependencies, the country of the Beni 
Hamdan. The poets say of these rivers, "On 
the Karda and Bazenda it is delightful to spend the 
summer and spring ; for their water is as cool 
as the Salsabil (a spring in Paradise), whilst the 
ground of Bagdad is as hot as live coals, and the 
heat is oppressive." The river el-Khabur is not the 
same which has its sources at the town of Ras el- 
'ain, and falls below the city of Karkisia IA^A^J into 
the Euphrates. The Tigris passes in its course the 
towns of Balad jJL and el-Mausil : it receives below 
el-Mausil and above the Hodaibiyah (the rough 
country) of el-Mausil J^U jU^x-*, the river ez-Zab 
vl>M from Arminiyah; this is the greater Zab, 
farther on the other Zab, which comes equally from 
Arminiyah and Aderbaijan, pours its waters into it. 
The Tigris proceeds to Tikrit, Samarra J^oL*, and 
Bagdad, receiving the Khandak ojjil!, es-Sorah 
x\j*d\ (*\j&\), and nahr-'Isa ^^AC ^: these are 
the canals which we have said run from the 
Euphrates into the Tigris. When the Tigris has 


copy of Leyden bears J^JL! 

from the country of Karenda, and the (river) Zahadra comes from 




quitted Bagdad, it receives a great many rivers 
(canals), like the Badnal jbjo (iL^j or <S\^), and 
Nahras u^j (Nahr-Nar, or Nahr-Shir?), the 
Nahr-Wan, not far from Jarjaraya L^.^, es-Sib 
v***JJ> and No'maniyah XoLjJJL Having passed the 
town of Wasit, the Tigris is divided into several 
branches ; some of which run into the marshes of 
el-Basrah, as the river called Baradud V^> or 
the el-Yahudi river, and the Shami (or Samarri) 
branch. On the stream which goes to el-'Akar 
jjud\ (^k!j), the greatest part of the navigation 
from Bagdad and Wasit to el-Basrah, is carried 
on. The whole course of the Tigris is about three 
or four hundred farsangs. 

We have omitted many rivers, describing only 
the larger ones, which are better known; for we 
entered into details in our works, the Akhbar ez- 
zeman and the Kitab el-ausat. We shall give 
further notices in this book of rivers which have 
been named, and of such as we have omitted to 

El-Basrah has several great rivers, like the 
Nahr-Shirin (.ju^ Nahr-ed-Dair ^*xM> and the 
Nahr-Ibn-'Amr. There are also some considerable 
rivers in the province of el-Ahwaz and the country 
between this province and el-Basrah. We forbear 
entering upon them here, having given accounts of 
them, and of the shores of the Persian Gulf at el- 


Basrah and el-Obollah, and of the place known 
under the name of Hezarah *j^.=U (or el-Herarah), 
which is a strip of land projecting into the sea*, 
close to el-Obollah, and which is the cause that the 
sailors go into the harbour of el-Basrah. There are 
marks of wood erected for the sailors in the sea, at 
Hezarah, on the side of el-Obollah and 'Abbadan, 
which look like three seats in the middle of the 
water, and upon which fires are burnt by night, to 
caution the vessels which come from 'Oman, Siraf, 
and other ports, least they run against the Hezarah; 
for if they run there, they are wrecked and lost. 

* The MS. of Leyden differs from the other two copies, and 
bears on the contrary, there is a bay *^\ ^ j^^^ u- 
in which the vessels lay. 

S '2 



Account of the Abyssinian sea, its extent, gulfs, 
and straits. 

ESTIMATES have been made respecting the extent of 
the Indian sea, which is identical with the Abyssi- 
nian sea : its length from the most western part of 
Abyssinia as far as China in the east, is eight thou- 
sand miles, and its breadth is in one place two thou- 
sand seven hundred, and in another one thou- 
sand nine hundred miles, for it varies in different 
places. These dimensions have been disputed, but 
\ve will not enter into the different statements, 
because there are no proofs upon which they rest. 
This is the greatest sea of the habitable world. It 
has a gulf extending from Abyssinia as far as Ber- 
bera, a country situated between the territory of the 
Zanj and the Abyssinians. This gulf is called the 
Berberian gulf <?^ jUt giM it is five hundred 
miles long, and at the beginning and end one hun- 
dred miles wide. These are not the Berbers *r>\n 
who live west of Afrikiyah (Africa pro vincia), for 
that is a different country although it has the same 
name. The sailors of 'Oman go on this sea as far 
as the island of Kanbalu f>JUj, in the sea of the 


Zanj. This island is inhabited by Moslims, and by 
Zanj who have not embraced th Islam. The 
sailors of 'Oman to whom we have just alluded, 
believe that this gulf, which is called the Berberian 
gulf, and with them the sea of the Berbers and of 
the country of Jofuni ^yL^ *&j, is much greater 
than we have said. The waves of this sea are huge 
like high mountains. 

These are blind waves ^S^^-o; this (marine) 
term means waves which rise as high as mountains, 
and between which abysses open like the deepest 
valleys but they do not break; hence no foam is 
created like that produced by the collision of the 
waves, in other seas. They believe that these waves 
are enchanted. The sailors of 'Oman who sail on this 
sea are Arabs, of the tribe of el-Azd ^W, and when 
they are on board a ship, sometimes lifted up by 
these waves, and then again sinking between them ; 
they say verses whilst they are at work, as, " O 
Berbera and Jofuni and thy enchanted waves. 
Jofuni,, and Barbera, and their waves,, as thou seest 

These sailors go on the sea ez-Zanj as far as the 
island of Kanbahi ^JUxi* and the Sofalah (low coun- 
try), of the Demdemah*, which is on the extremity 

' One copy bears JJ^LJJ ^ XJU-o S&j and another MS. 

XJUL*. It does not require any explanation why these 
two readings have been changed in the translation. 


of the country of the Zanj and the low countries 
JJUJ thereabout. The merchants of Siraf ^j^jl j**Ji 
are also in the habit of sailing on this sea. I have 
made a voyage on it from Sohar*, which is the 
capital of 'Oman, with a crew of Sirafians ; they 
are the owners of the vessels like Mohammed Ben 
Zindibud and Jauher Ben Ahmad, known under the 
name of Ibn Shirah ^\ ^ y*y^ "K*^j &t <x * s2 
(jy*j) 5^Aj ^..jjlj oj^xU, who perished in this sea 
with his whole crew. 

And, in 304 A.H., I made a voyage from the 
island of Kanbalu to 'Oman, in a vessel of Ahmad 
and 'Abd es-Samad 4*^1 ^XAC, brothers of 'Abd 
er-Rahim Ben Ja'fer of Siraf. I passed then the 
spot where, subsequently, the vessel of Ahmad and 
'Abd es-Samad was wrecked, and where these two 
men perished with their whole crew. When I 
made my first voyage on this sea, Ahmad Ben Helal 
Ben Okht el-Kattal JUXJ1 Z 

* Both copies bear Sinjar AZCUJ, and M. Quatremere followed 
this reading- in the extract which he gives of this passage in the 
Memoires sur 1'Egypte, vol. ii., page 182, the true reading seems 
to be 1^. 

f The MS. of Cambridge gives him the name , . ^ 
0$ ^.AA*M fj&Jj Mohammed Ben Zeidum (?) of Siraf. It is 
probably the same person as Abu Zeid of Siraf, in Reinaudot, 
(p. 39). 


was Emir of 'Oman. I have frequently been at sea; 
as in the Chinese sea ^jywa!^^, in the seaofer- 
Rum, in that of the Khazar j^\ (the Caspian), of 
el-Kolzom ~^&\ (the Red Sea), and in the sea of 
el- Yemen: I have encountered many perils, but 
I found the sea of the Zanj which we have just 
described the most dangerous of all. 

There is a fish in this sea called el-Owal $\j$\ 
(whale), which is from four to five hundred 'Omari 
cubits tsjf.\\ ,[>^ l n g> these are the cubits in use 
in this sea. The usual length of this fish is one 
hundred perches ^L. Frequently when it swims 
through the sea only the extremities of the two fins 
are to be seen, and it looks like the sail of a ship 
\jid\ j&j X*. Generally the head of the whale is 
out of water; and when it powerfully ejects water, it 
gushes into the air more than one bowshot high. 
The vessels are afraid of it by day and night, and 
they beat drums <_^lj j and wooden poles to drive it 
away. This fish drives with its tail and fins other 
fish into its open mouth, and they pass down its 
throat with the stream of water. When the whale 
sins God sends a fish about one cubit long called 
esh-Shak &z\\* , it adheres to the root of its tail 

* Quatremere translates this passage in his Memoires sur 
1'Egypte, vol. ii., p. 491, and found this word written sal; one of 
my copies bears 


and the whale has no means to make itself free from 
it. It goes therefore to the bottom of the sea and 
beats itself to death; its dead body floats on the 
water and looks like a great mountain. The fish 
called esh-Shak, adheres frequently to the whale. 
The whales, notwithstanding their size, do not 
approach vessels; and they take flight when they 
see this little fish, for it is their destruction*. 

In the same way a little animal which lives on 
the banks and islands of the Nile, is the destruction 
of the crocodile. The crocodile has no natural 
passage through its body; and whatever it eats is 
turned into worms in its belly: when it feels any 
inconvenience it goes out on the land and lays on 
its back, opens its mouth, and there come the water- 
birds like the Taitawif cf^LJaJJ, the Hasani 
jU^it QUait), the Shamirek J^clwJJ, and other 
sorts of birds, to eat the large worms which may be 

* The translation of M. Quatremere of this sentence runs, 
" L'okal qui ose attaquer un vaisseau, quoique grand qu'il soit, 
prend la fuite des qu'il appergoit ce petit poisson qui est son 
plus terrible ennemi." This sounds much better than the transla- 
tion which I give. Since probability and the authority of this 
distinguished orientalist is against me, I transcribe the original 
after three copies, ^ 

1^3 Xj'l? ^ L*^ ^ would certainly be more natural if the 
words did run l^IoxJ _ J^| 

t See Calilah et Dimnah, p. 124. 


in the belly of the crocodile. This little animal 
watching in the sand, seizes this opportunity to 
jump on its scales, and goes down its throat. The 
crocodile throws itself violently on the ground, and 
goes to the bottom of the Nile. The little animal 
devours its intestines and gnaws its way out. This 
little animal is generally about one cubit long, 
resembles a weasel, and has legs and claws. 

In the sea of the Zanj are many and variously 
shaped species of fish, if people do not tell stories to 
cover their ignorance. But as it is not our object 
to relate the wonders of the sea, nor to describe the 
aquatic animals, serpents, and other strange crea- 
tures, which live in it, we will now return to the 
description of its various divisions, gulfs, inlets, and 
tongues of land. Another gulf of the Abyssinian 
sea is that which comes up to the town of el-Kolzom 
fjAjiH* which belongs to Egypt, and is three days 
from Fostat. On this gulf is the city of Allah, the 
Hejaz*, Joddah *x^, and Yemen. It is one thou- 
sand four hundred miles long, and where it is widest 
two hundred miles broad. Opposite the mentioned 
places as Ailah and the Hejaz, on the western 
coast of this gulf is el-'Allaki, el-'Aidab v^**J'> 
which belongs to Upper Egypt, the country of 

el-Bojah s\M &>j\ ; then Abyssinia and Nigritia 

* The MSS. bear \ and *)A. 


, which form the coast of the Red Sea, 
as far as the frontiers of the Sofalahs, (low district,) 
_ U3UJ of the Zanj. At the Sofalah of the country 
of the Zanj another gulf branches off, and this is the 
Persian sea which comes up to el-Obollah,, to the 
Khashabat, cijU^ 1, (the wooden sea-marks), and 
to 'Abbadan j,bU, which belongs to el-Basrah. 
The length of this gulf is one thousand four hun- 
dred miles, and the breadth at the entrance five 
hundred miles, but in some places it is not above 
one hundred and fifty miles wide. This gulf has 
a triangular shape, at one angle el-Obollah is 
situated, thence the gulf extends towards the east 
along Faris. Of the places situated on this coast, 
we name Persian Daurak u^iM ^^9 Maherban 
^LjjfcU (Mahruban), and Shiniz ; from this town 
the embroidered Shinizee cloth has its name; 
for this and other sorts of clothes are manu- 
factured there: farther the town of Jannabah, 
whence the Jannabee cloth X>oUil v^t has its 
name*; the town of Najiram p*^0, belonging to 
Siraf JJjA-a, then the countries of Ibnf 'Imarah 
? the coast of Kerman and the coast 

* 'ITiese manufacturing and other towns were destroyed at 
the time of Abul-Feda owing to the rule of the Turkish soldiers, 
whom the 'Abbasides had called in to keep up the course of 
absolutism against their own nation. 

f Some copies leave out the word Ibn. 


of Mokran ^JC*, which is the country of the 
Khawarij, who are Heretics *\jS\ ^^ gjl*^* 
The whole of this coast is a palm country: then 
comes the coast of es-Sind there are the mouths 
of the river Mihran ^jfr*> which is the river of 
es-Sind (Indus), and has been described. In the 
es-Sind is the town of ed-Da'ibol. Then comes 
the coast of India, the country of Borudh u^' 
whence the Borudhi cinnabar has its name. 
Thence extends one interrupted coast as far as 
China, partly cultivated, partly waste. 

On the coast opposite the mentioned countries 
as Kerman and es-Sind is el-Bahrain, the islands of 
Kotr ^33, the Shatt of the Beni Jadimah ^ k 
&:<x^, (who belong to the 'Abdel-Kais tribe), Oman, 
the country of el-Mahrah s^Xt, as far as the 
promontory of el-Jomjomah **2aj?i u^l;, in the 
country of esh-Shihr ^s^l; on this coast is also 
el-Ahkaf, and near the coast many islands are 
situated, like the island of Kharak J^U., which 
belongs to the country of Jannabah, and has its 
surname after it: between this island and the con- 
tinent is a strait of a few miles,, in which the pearls 
called Kharaji pearls are found. Another island is 
called the isle of Awal _J^ *j*y?> there live the 
Beni Ma'n ^.j** ^ij, the Beni Mismar J^** 9 
and a great number of other Arabs. It is about 
one day or less from the towns of the coast of 


Meran, which belongs to el-Bahrain. On this coast 
which is called the coast of Hajar jz&&, are the 
towns ez-Zarah i^tyi and el-Katif. uLlaxH. 

After the isle of Awal are many other islands 
as the isle Lafit L^O^, which is also called the island 
of the Beni Kawan ^\J6 csu. It has been con- 
quered by 'Amr Ben el-'Asi, and there is his mosque 
standing to this day. This island is very populous 
well cultivated, and has several villages. At a short 
distance from it is the island of Haijam ^ Urufc. There 
the sailors take in water. Then the mountains 
known under the name of Kosair, Owair, ^s. ^ ?*$> 
and a third one the name of which is not known. 
Then ed-Dordur, which is called the terrible Dordur 
> and by the sailors the father of hell; 
^\) at these parts of the sea rise 
enormous black rocks high overhanging the water, 
neither plants nor animals can live on them, and under 
them the sea is very deep and stormy, hence every- 
body who sails there is filled with fear; they are 
between 'Oman and Siraf, and vessels cannot help 
sailing through the midst of them. There is a 
constant current of the water which makes it foam. 
This sea, I mean the Persian gulf, which is also called 
the Persian sea, is skirted by the countries and towns 
which we have enumerated, as el- Bahrein, Faris, 
el-Basrah, and Oman, and extends as far as the 
promontory of el-Jomjomah. Between the Persian 


gulf and the gulf of el-Kolzom and Ailah (the Red 
Sea,) is the Hejaz and el- Yemen ; this land extends 
fifteen hundred miles between the two gulfs, forming 
a peninsula which is surrounded for the most part 
by the sea before described. 

On this sea extending from China along India, 
Faris, 'Oman, el-Basrah, el-Bahrain, Yemen, 
Abyssinia, the Hejaz, el-Kolzom, ez-Zanj, es-Sind, 
and in the islands which it surrounds, are so many 
and various nations, that their description and 
number is known only to the Almighty who has 
created them, and every section of them has a name 
by which it is distinguished from the rest. The 
water forms one uninterrupted sea. There are 
many places in this sea where they dive for pearls 

s. s- 

jM. On these coasts, cornelians, Madinj 
which is a sort of coral, and different 
sorts of rubies, sapphires, diamonds, and turquois 
are found. There are mines of gold and silver in 
the country of Kolah X# and Serirah '^^ and 
on the coast of this sea are mines of iron, in the 
countries about Kerman. 'Oman produces copper. 
From the countries which form the coast of this 
sea, come different sorts of perfumes, scents, am- 
bergis, various drugs used in medicine, plantane, 
cinamon, cinnabar, and ruscus ^1,^x^01. We shall 
hereafter specify the places where all those precious 
stones, perfumes, and plants are found. 


This sea which we have described, bears the 
general name of the Abyssinian Sea ^z^\ J&- 
The winds of the different parts of this sea which 
we have described, and every one of which has a 
distinct name, as the Persian gulf, the sea of Yemen, 
the sea of el-Kolzom, the sea of Abyssinia, and the 
sea of ez-Zanj, are different. In some seas the wind 
comes from the bottom of the sea, stirring up the 
water ; waves rise therefrom as in a boiling kettle, 
where the particles J^ of the heat of the fire come 
from underneath. In others winds and storms come 
partly from the bottom of the sea, partly from the 
air, and in some seas the wind arises wholly from 
an agitation of the air without any wind coming 
from the bottom of the sea. Those winds which, 
as we have stated^ come from the bottom of the 
sea, arise from the winds which blow from the land 
and penetrate into the sea, from whence they rise to 
the surface of the water. God knows best how this 

There are several winds in those seas which are 
known to the sailors to blow in particular directions 
at certain times. This peculiar knowledge is ac- 
quired by theory, practice, and long experience. 
They also have a knowledge of certain signs and 
indications by which they can tell whether the wind 
will be high or not, and when a storm maybe expected. 
What we have said here of the Abyssinian Sea, may 
be applied in some measure to the Mediterranean, 


where the Byzantines and Moslims have certain signs 
by which they can tell if the wind will change. The 
same is the case with the sailors of the sea of the 
Khazar, (the Caspian) who go to Jorjan, Taberistan, 
and ed-Dailem. We shall give in the following 
pages, a view and some details of the description and 
history of those seas, and their wonders, if it is the 
will of God, for there is no strength but in God. 



The different opinions on ebb and flow, and all that 
has been said on this subject. 

FLOW ,x*JJ means the coming in of the water 
according to its nature and the laws of its motion. 
The ebb j^ii is the going out of the water, and rests 
on laws which are the reverse of those of the flow. 
This may be observed in the Abyssinian sea, which 
comprehends the seas of China, India, and the gulfs 
of el-Berbera and Faris, as we have said in the pre- 
ceding chapter. With respect to the ebb and flow, 
the seas may be divided into three classes, the first 
of which comprehends those seas in which ebb and 
flow take place, and are apparent and evident ; the 
other in which ebb and flow take place, but are 
not perceptible ; and finally, there are seas in which 
there is no ebb and flow at all. In those seas which 
have no ebb and flow, the cause of their absence 
may be threefold. The first cause is this : if the 
water remains some time quiet it becomes salt, 
heavier, and denser: it happens frequently that the 
water goes into certain places for one cause or 
another, and forms a sort of lake, diminishing in 


summer, and increasing in winter, and one may 
observe that it is increased by the accession of rivers 
and springs. To the second class belong those 
seas which are far from land and extensive, a cir- 
cumstance which renders it impossible to observe 
the ebb and flow. The third class comprehends such 
seas as are on volcanic ground, for if the ground is 
in volcanic action the water is in a constant current 
to another sea, being increased in volume and 
swelled by the air which is originally in the earth, 
and thence communicated to the water. This is 
particularly frequent with seas that have an exten- 
sive line of coast and many islands*. 

A variety of opinions have been started respecting 
the causes of the ebb and flow. Some ascribe them 
to the influence of the moon, for she being congenial 

ju *iu 

\j Means an increase in volume without an (apparent) 
addition of matter. If this increase be effected by heat it is 
c>Jiij J^fsW^, and if by the absorption of another stuff as air 
and humidity, it is called <s\LsxiJJ ^sik^CJJ. The secondary 
meaning, which alone is found in Dictionaries is to boil. 



with water makes it warm and expands it. They 
compare her influence with that of fire: if water is 
exposed to the influence of heat in a kettle, although 
only one-half or two-thirds of the kettle be full, it 
will rise when it boils, until it runs over, for its 
volume becomes apparently double whilst its weight 
is diminished, it being a law of heat to expand bodies, 
and a law of cold to contract them. The bottom of 
the sea becomes warm, and by these means sweet 
water is produced in the earth, which is changed (into 
salt water) and becomes warm, as it happens in 
cisterns and wells. When the water is warm it 
expands, and when it is expanded, it is increased in 
volume ; and when its volume is great, every particle 
pushes the particle next to itself, and so it raises the 
level as it rises from the bottom, for it requires more 
space. The full moon communicates a great deal of 
heat to the atmosphere, hence the water increases in 
volume. This is called the monthly tide (spring 

The Abyssinian sea runs from east to west 
along the equator; after this line the moveable 
heavenly bodies and those fixed stars which stand 
vertically over it make their daily revolutions. 
When the moveable bodies are at a sufficient dis- 
tance from the equator their action upon the sea is 
suspended, but when they are near the line they 
exercise their influence upon the sea from one end 
to the other every day and night; with all that, the 


place exposed to their influence shows but little 
increase; it is therefore particularly in rivers and 
other channels through which the water flows into 
the sea, that the flow is distinctly seen. 

Others say, if the ebb and flow is the same phe- 
nomenon as the expansion of water in a kettle under 
the influence of fire, which makes the water rise, 
the sea will, after it has been removed from the 
bottom of its basin, go according to its nature 
(gravity), to the deepest places of the earth, and so 
it will return into its former place, just as the water 
which boils in a cauldron goes as fast back to the 
bottom of the vessel as it is displaced by the particles 
of the fire (heat). Now the sun is the warmest 
body ; and if the sun was the cause of ebb and flow, 
the latter would begin with the rising of this 
luminary, and the former with its setting. They 
believe therefore that ebb and flow is caused by 
vapours, which are produced in the bowels of the 
earth and continue to be generated, until they are 
discharged. This discharge pushes the water of the 
sea, and it remains in this state until the pressure 
from underneath it is diminished; then the sea 
returns to the depths of its bed and the ebb succeeds. 
Hence ebb and flow take place indiscriminately 
during day and night, summer and winter, indepen- 
dent of the rising and setting of the sun and moon . 
They say further the fact is evident, for as soon as 
the ebb is over the tide comes in, and the end of the 



flow is immediately succeeded by the ebb, for the pro- 
duction of these vapours is constant; when they are 
discharged they are replaced by others. Whenever 
the water of the sea runs back into its basin vapours 
are generated by the contact of the water and earth. 
When the sea returns vapours are produced, and 
when it rises they are discharged. 

The strictly orthodox say, everything, the course 
and reason, of which cannot be discovered in nature 
must be ascribed to the (immediate) action of God, and 
is an additional proof of his unity and wisdom. For 
ebb and flow no natural cause can be assigned. 

Others say the motion of the waters of the 
sea is not different from the vicissitudes of the 
temperaments pl& in men. You may observe 
in choleric, sanguine, and other persons, that their 
temperament is roused for a time then it is quiet 
again. In the same way the sea rises by degrees, 
and when it has come to the greatest intenseness, it 
sinks by degrees. 

Another hypothesis has been advanced, opposed 
to those already mentioned. It is assumed that the 
air which is in contact with the water of the sea, 
produces a constant decomposition of it : the con- 
sequence of which is that the waters of the sea are 
expanded and rise, and this is the flow ; but in the 
mean time, the water spreads and produces a decom- 
position of the air which makes the water return into 
its former place , and this is the ebb. These actions 


are constant, and follow each other without inter- 
ruption, for the water decomposes the air, and the 
air decomposes the water. It may be greater when 
the moon is full, for the activity of this (chemical) 
change is increased. The moon is therefore the 
reason of a more copious flow, but not of the flow 
altogether, for the flow takes place although the 
moon be in the last quarter. And the tide in the 
Persian gulf is sometimes greatest at the rising of 
the first quarter. 

Many of the Nawajidah gj^ly [this is the name 
for the sailors of Siraf and 'Oman, who are con- 
stantly on this sea, and visit various nations in 
the islands and on the coast,] say that the ebb and 
flow takes place only twice a year in the greatest 
part of this sea, once in the summer months, then 
the ebb is six months north-east, during which the 
sea of China and of other countries of that quarter 
of the globe is high, for the water flows then from the 
west ; and once in the winter months, then the ebb 
is six months south-west, for in winter the sea is 
fuller in the west, whilst the sea of China ebbs. 
The motions of the sea cohere with the course of 
the winds, for when the sun is in the northern 
hemisphere, the air moves to the south, hence the 
sea is during summer higher in the south, for the 
northern winds are high and force the water there. 
In the same way when the sun is in the southern 
hemisphere ; the course of the air, and with it the 


current of the water, is from south to north, and 
hence there is less water in the south. The shifting 
of the water in these two. directions, from south to 
north and from north to south is called the hyemal 
ebb and flow; the ebb of the north is flow, in the 
south vice versa, and if the moon* happens to 
meet with another planet in one of these two direc- 
tions, the warmth is increased by their joined 
action, and hence the current of the air is stronger 
towards the hemisphere which is opposite to that 
where the sun is. 

El-Mas'udi says, this is the hypothesis of el- 
Kindi and Ahmad Ben et-Taib es-Sarakhsi, and what 
we have said is borrowed from them ; namely, that 
the motion of the sea coincides with the course of the 
winds. I saw a curious phenomenon in the country 
of Kanbayat in India, from which the laced Kanbayan 
shoes X-,A.>UAJJ JlxiJI have their name, for they are 
made in this and the neighbouring towns like Sindanf 
and Stibarah s^L^w (Sufarah) . I visited this place 
in 303, A.H., during the government of Babina UoL 

* The text is probably corrupted and should run, and if the 
sun happens to meet with the moon or another planet, &c. 

f Some MSS. bear JJ^^XXA*, and others ^l^&; supposing 
the first part of the word being correctly spelt in the first reading, 
and the finale ^ in the second, we have the name which Abul- 
feda gives to a town on the coast of India, viz., 


lo'L), who was appointed there as Brahman <& 
by the Ballahra* ^^XxJI, the sovereign of el- 
Mankir jJolXU This Babina liked to enter into 
disputations with Moslims or persons of any other 
religion, who visited his province. The above-men- 
tioned town is situated on an estuary which is as 
wide as the Nile, or like the Tigris antl Euphrates. 
On the banks of the estuary one sees towns, villas, 
cultivation, gardens, palms, cocoanut-trees, guinea- 
fowls, parrots, and other Indian birds. The city of 
Kambayah is two days or less distant from the 
mouth of this estuary. The ebb is so marked in 
this estuary that the sand lays quite bare, and only 
in the middle of the bed remains a little water. I 
saw a dog on this sand, which was left dry by the 
water like the sand of a desert ; the tide coming in 
from the sea like a mountain caught him although he 
ran as fast as he could to the land to escape, and the 
poor animal was drowned notwithstanding his swift- 
ness. Between el-Basrah and el-Ahwaz in the 
places called el-Basiyan ^U* UM and el-Kaidem 
f<x*Hj the tide comes in with equal violence and is 
called there the crime (Boaref), full of noise, ebuli- 

* The original title of this prince is according to the Mefatih 
el-'olum, ts J *ktyt Behlway or .jb Ji.j Baluhar. 

-f- See Major Rennel's Memoirs on the map of Hindoostan, 
p. 353, who describes the passage of the Boare up the Hoogly. 


tion, and danger: the sailors are afraid of it, and 
the place is well known to everybody who has passed 
it on his way to Daurak o^ and Faris. 



The sea of er-Rum (the Mediterranean^ , its length 
and breadth, beginning and end. 

THE sea of er-Rum -^Jl, of Tarsus vyj* 9 Adanah, el-Misslsah 'i^j^\ 9 Antakiyah (Antioch), el- 
Ladikiyah ZJ* &N (Laodocia), Atrabolos uJbV^t 
(Tripolis), Sur^xs, and of other places on the 
coast of Syria and Egypt, as of Alexandria and on 
the coast of the Maghrib, is five thousand miles long; 
the breadth varies being in some places eight hun- 
dred miles, in others seven hundred, six hundred 
and less; so it is stated in the astronomical works of 
many authors of astronomical tables, as Mohammed 
Ben Jaber el-Battani jUxJJ ^jU. (J j.j <x*:2. This sea 
begins from the strait which connects it with the sea 
Okianos (the Atlantic), and which is narrowest 
between the coast of Tanjah *^J& (Tangiers) and 
Sabtah XZx*s (Ceuta), in the Maghrib, and between 
the coast of el-Andalos (Spain) ; this narrow passage 
has the name of Saita lk>~ (Ceuta), the distance 
between the two coasts is not more than ten miles; 


hence it is the route to cross over from the Maghrib 
to el-Andalos, and from el-Andalos into the Magh- 
rib. It is generally called the Zokak oli'j^l (lane). 
We shall speak in our account of Egypt of the 
bridge, which joined the two coasts, and of the navi- 
gation on this sea; also that the island of Kobros 
u~j* (Cyprus) and el-'Arish (fit j.x$\ were once 
connected by land, so that caravans passed from one 
place to another. 

On the limits where these two seas, the Mediter- 
ranean and the Ocean join, pillars of copper and 
stone, have been erected by King Hirakl the giant*. 
Upon these pillars are inscriptions and figures, 
which show with their hands that one cannot go 
further, and that it is impracticable to navigate 
beyond the Mediterranean into that sea (the ocean), 
for no vessel sails on it: there is no cultivation nor 
a human being, and the sea has no limits neither 
in its depths nor extent, for its end is unknown. 
This is the sea of darkness, also called the green sea 
or the surrounding sea l*^\ ^ ^*a^l ^ cAiJsJJ ^i 
Some say that these pillars are not on this strait, but 
in some islands of the ocean and their coast. 

Some people consider this sea as the origin of all 

* Hirakl JJf jjfc is generally the Arabic name for Heraclius 
but here, as the reader perceives, the pillars in question are the 


others. There are some wonderful stories related 
respecting it, for which we refer the reader to ourbook 
the Akhbar ez-zeman ; there he will find an account of 
those crews who have risked their lives in navigating 
this sea, and who of them have escaped, and who 
have been shipwrecked, also what they have encoun- 
tered and seen. Such an adventurer was a Moor 
of Spain, of the name of Khoshkhash <j.ici 
He was a young man of Cordoba : having assembled 
some young men they went on board a vessel which 
they had ready on the ocean, and nobody knew for 
a long time what had become of them. At length 
they came back loaded with rich booty. Their 
history is well known among the people of el- 
Andalos (the Moors in Spain). 

The length of this strait which forms a current 
from the ocean into the Mediterranean is consider- 
able, extending from the mentioned pillars as far as 
el-Ahjar. The current from the ocean is so great 
that it is perceptible. From the sea of er-Rum, of 
Syria and Egypt, a gulf branches off which is five 
hundred miles long, and passes the city of Rome 
XA-CJJ &LKX.O. This gulf is called the Adriatic u^jM 
in the language of Rome. West of this strait* (or 

* One copy leaves out this sentence altogether, and the other 
gives it incomplete; for it seems that the author continued his 
account of the Adriatic naming some towns of Italy situated on it 
before he comes again to speak of the strait of Gibraltar. This 
description of the Adriatic however is left out in all MS. 


gulf) a town is situated, named Sabtah (Ceuta), it 
lays on the same side as Tanjah, opposite the cities 
on the coast of Spain, and the Jebel Tarik 3^. 
jjUs (Gibraltar) , so named after the freed-slave of 
Musa Ben Nosair. The time for crossing from 
Sabtah to Spain is from morning to noon. This 
strait is very boisterous, and there is sometimes a 
great swell although there is no wind, for the water 
runs through it into the Mediterranean. The Moors 
in Spain and in the Maghrib call this strait Lane 
oli'^J!, for it has this shape. 

There are various islands in the Mediterranean, 
as the isle of Cyprus uj*S 9 between the coast of Syria 
and er-Rum, Rhodes u*^j, opposite Alexandria, 
Crete J&y t y>J, and Sicily *JuU>. We shall speak 
of Sicily when we treat of the mount Borkan ^ ^ 
(^Etna), which throws out fire variously shaped, 
representing sometimes enormous carcases. Ya'- 
kub Ben Ishak el-Kindi and Ahmad Ben et-Taib 
es-Sarakhsi c^i ^ ^^^ <s*&\ <Jbswt ^ vy*V. 
^y^juwJJ, differ respecting the length and breadth 
of this sea from the account which we have given, as 
we shall have an opportunity to observe further in 
this book where we describe these seas according to 
the plan of the work. 



On the sea ofNitus (Pontus), and Mdyotis* (Maoris), 
and the strait of Constantinople. 

THE Pontus extends from the country of Ladikah 
XJ'^ to Constantinople, and has a length of one 
thousand one hundred miles. Its breadth at the 
beginning is three hundred miles. The great river, 
named Tanabus u^uUk (Danube), which we have 

* The name of this sea being variously spelt in different copies, 
the spelling of Abulfeda has been followed in page 30, supra ; for 
although this author may be incorrect in some cases, he is more 
correct than any other Oriental geographer, particularly in the ortho- 
graphy of proper names, and his geography has lately been pub- 
lished by M. Reinaud and Baron Slane, with such exactness, that 
it must be considered as the standard work and canon in writing 
geographical names. Most copists write ^JajLc, and this seems 

to be the correct way of spelling it; for if we add the vowels 

we have as nearly the Greek word Matcorts, as it can be expressed 
in Arabic. It appears for the rest from this chapter that the Arabs 
had exceedingly wrong notions respecting the Pontus, as well as 
the Palus Maeotis; for although they had in the earliest time 
pushed their conquests as far as the coasts of the Black Sea, and 
although they carried on some trade on it, they referred in geo- 
graphy, as well as in other branches of human knowledge, seldom 
to experience, being led entirely by the authority of more 
ancient information, which was frequently misunderstood. 


already mentioned falls into this sea. It comes 
from the north, and runs through the country of 
many Japhetite nations. It rises from a large lake 
in the north, which receives its water from springs 
and mountains. The course of this river is about 
three hundred farsangs long. Its banks are all along 
cultivated by the children of Yafeth Ben Nuh. It 
flows through the sea of Mayotis into the Pontus, ac- 
cording to the opinion of many well-informed men. 
This is a large river in which there are various 
stones, plants, and medical substances, and hence 
notice has been taken of it by many ancient philo- 

Some people consider the sea of Mayotis as a 
lake, to which they give a length of three hundred 
miles, and a width of one hundred miles. From 
this sea the strait of Constantinople branches off, 
which connects it with the Mediterranean; the 
length of this strait is three hundred miles, and its 
breadth on an average fifty miles. On its western 
bank Constantinople is situated, and there runs an 
uninterrupted line of cultivation from the beginning 
of this strait to the end, and as far as Rome and 
Spain. The opinions of those astronomers must 
therefore be true, who maintain that the sea 
of the Targhiz jJ3\*, Russians cr^Ji, and 

* This name is mostly spelt vc j>U or not dotted at all. I 
suppose it is the same nation as the Tyragetes of Herodotus. 


Nagaiz*, who are three nations of Turkish origin, is 
the same as the Pontus. We shall speak of these 
nations in the progress of our work if it is the 
will of God the Almighty, distinguishing those who 
sail on this sea from those who do not navigate it. 

* Amongst the various readings rutf v^ seems to be 
the most correct. The Nagaiz live north-east of the Black Sea 
towards Stavropol. 



The sea of Bab el-Abwdb, of the Khazar and of 
*7orjdn (the Caspian), and the relation in which 
the seas stand to each other. 

THE sea of the Barbarians* ^U^l ^s? which is so 
called because their abodes are on its coast, is sur- 
rounded from all sides with cultivation; it is 
generally known under the name of the sea of Bab 

el-Abwabf v^^ v^>^> the sea of the Khazar, 
of el-Jil (Ghilan), of ed-Dailem, of Jorjan, and of 
Taberistan. On this sea live various nations of 
Turkish origin. It extends along Khowarezm 
which forms a province of Khorasan, and is eight 
hundred miles long, its breadth is six hundred 

means any person who is not Arab, but particularly 
the Persians. In this passage it must be taken in the more 
extensive meaning, in which it answers exactly to the Latin 
barbarus. Ibn Khaldun uses in this sense the expression 

l " a wild animaL " 

-j- Our author writes this name in all instances Bab wal- 
Abwab, i.e., the gate and the gates, instead of Bab el-Abwab, i.e., 
the gate of the gates, and comes therefore nearer to the ancient 
name Portce Caucasia. 


miles, and it has nearly a round shape. In the 
progress of our work we will describe all the nations 
who live on this sea, which has the name of the sea 
of the Barbarians. 

In this sea are many Tenanin*, which is the 
plural of Tinnin. They are equally frequent in the 
Mediterranean, particularly about Tripolis, Laodicea, 
and Jebel el- Akra', in the district of Antioch, for under 
this mountain the sea is deep and boisterous ; hence 
this place is called the Knot of the Sea j.s\!\ *J-=M- 
On the coast of this sea are situated Antioch, 
Rashid, Sakandarunah'!' (Alexandria Cilicise), Hisn 
el-Markab^, on the mountain el-Lokkam, Missi- 
sah, where the river Jaihan falls into the sea, 
Adanah XJit with the mouth of the Saihan, Tarsus 
with the river el-Berdan ^b jJJ, which is the river 
of Tarsus ; further on is waste land, which forms the 
frontier between the Moslim and the Byzantine 

* It appears from what follows, that tinnin (in Hebrew, 
tannin), which is the usual word for dragon, means originally 
water- spout, and that the signification dragon owes its origin to 
the popular belief, that the water-spout is a sea-monster, which, 
according to el-Kazwinl, has sometimes a length of two farsangs. 
Some further details, respecting the fables to which this pheno- 
menon has given rise, as those of the Gorgons, of Perseus and 
Andromeda, of St. George, &c., will be given in the additional 

f The MSS. bear Alexandria, although it comes later. 

i. The MSS. bear tyJu^Jl and o^i^Jl. 



territory: then we come to the towns of Kalamiah 
3UjlJ', Yunos u*^.j and Kerasia U~jj ; then to 
Solukiah a/Ji^X*, which has a large river that falls 
into the Mediterranean; from thence the sea is 
skirted with a line of fortresses, which extends as 
far as Constantinople. We have omitted many 
rivers of the Byzantine dominions which fall into 
this sea, as the Cold River ^UJt^xM, the Honey 
River J^xJt ^ 3 and many others. The coast of the 
Maghrib, beginning from the strait on which Tan- 
giers is situated, is equally in a flourishing state of 
cultivation all along the coast of Afrikiya, Susah, 
Tripolis, the Maghrib, (in its narrower sense), 
Alexandria, Rashid, and Dimyat, up to the Byzan- 
tine frontier, which joins the coast formed by the 
Byzantine dominions: further on is the coast of 
Rome, and beyond it the coast of Spain as far as the 
coast opposite Tangiers, on the strait from which we 
began our description. The whole coast just de- 
scribed presents an uninterrupted line of well-culti- 
vated countries, belonging partly to the Moslims, 
partly to the Roman dominions, and intersected by 
several rivers which fall into the sea and the strait 
of Constantinople, which is only one mile wide. 
This sea has several gulfs and estuaries, but they 
are merely inlets, and do not communicate with any 
other sea. 

The shape of this sea has been compared to a 


cabbage *-**j&\, of which the strait of Gibraltar 
forms the stalk ; but it will appear, by comparing 
the length and breadth which we have given, that it 
is not round. 

The Tinnins (dragons) are quite unknown in the 
Abyssinian sea and in its numerous estuaries and bays. 
They are most frequent near the Atlantic (jluUs'l- 
Different opinions have been advanced as to what the 
dragon is : some believe that it is a black wind in 
the bottom of the sea, which rises into the air, 
that is to say, the atmosphere j4-\, as high as the 
clouds, like a hurricane whirling dust aloft as it rises 
from the ground, and destroying vegetation. The 
shape of the dragon becomes longer the higher it 
ascends in the air. 

Some people believe that the dragon is a black 
serpent which rises into the air, the clouds are at 
the same time black, all is dark, and this is suc- 
ceeded by a terrible wind. 

Some are of opinion that it is an animal which 
lives in the bottom of the sea, and that, when it is 
haughty and overbearing, God sends an angel in a 
cloud, who draws it out. It has the shape of a 
black shining serpent. When it is carried through 
the air it goes so high that it does not touch any 
thing with its tail, excepting, perhaps, very high 
buildings or trees ; but it frequently damages 
many trees. It is carried in the clouds to 
Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog). The clouds 

u 2 


kill the dragon through cold and rain, and give it 
to Gog and Magog to devour. This is the 
opinion of Ibn 'Abbas. There are various other 
popular traditions respecting the dragon, which are 
recorded by biographers of Mohammed and other 
prophets, but we cannot insert them all here. They 
say, for instance, that the dragons are black serpents 
which live in the desert, whence they pass, by rivers 
swelled by rains, into the sea. They feed there on 
sea animals, grow to an immense size, and live a 
long time ; but when one of them has reached an 
age of five hundred years, it becomes so oppressive 
to sea animals, that there happens something like 
what we have related, as being the account of Ibn 
'Abbas. Some, they state, are white, and others 
black like serpents. 

The Persians do not deny the existence of 
dragons. They believe that they have seven heads*, 
they call them ^U<x^Jf, and allude frequently 

* The representation of the constellation called Dragon in el- 
Kazwini (MS. of the East India House, No. 1377,) has equally 
seven heads. 

* By the change of j into . we may pronounce this word 
el-Agorghan ^LjLjs*^, which would leave no doubt of the 
identity with the Greek name Gorgons. In this case the name 
of Perseus could be derived from the Persian word Peri ^ ^ 
which means an angel. Several pages being wanting in the MS. 
of Leyden, I have this passage, unfortunately, only in one MS., 
else the comparison with other copies would show how far this 


to them in their tales. God knows best what the 
dragons really are. 

Many persons believe the stories connected with 
this subject, whilst they are rejected by many 
sound men. We will not repeat tales like that of 
'Imran Ben Jabir, who is said to have reached 
the sources of the Nile, and to have crossed the sea 
on the back of an animal, laying hold of its hair 
This, they say, was a marine animal, of such celerity 
that it accompanied the sun in its course. By 
seizing its hair 'Imran crossed the sea, seeking the 
bed of the sun, at once he saw the Nile as it comes 
forth from golden palaces; they say also that the 
angel who guards the sources of the Nile gave 
him a bunch of grapes, and that he returned to the 
man who had seen him when he set out, to describe 
to him how he had managed to reach the Nile, 

conjecture is correct, and whether the Greeks have borrowed 
the fable of the Gorgons, and of Perseus and Andromeda from 
the Persians, or whether they owe it to the Syrians and Phoeni- v/ 
cians. For the rest it is very likely that ^IsJ^^J is to be read 
as two words: in this case the translation would run, " And they 
give to them a name which sounds 'an (or rather ghan ; for the 
Persians have not the sound of the ^) in the singular." 

The Kamus, p. 1728, informs us that the Persian name for 
the constellation called Dragon ^jLxJJ is .^oJjufc. This word 
(Haftorang) occurs repeatedly in the Zend-Avesta, and has been 
mistaken by Anquetil Duperron for the Great Bear. 


but he found him dead. They relate further some 
adventures which he had with the devil, several 
tales respecting the bunch of grapes, and other 

It is asserted on the authority of a tradition (of 
the Prophet), that in the middle of the green sea, 
(ocean) are all sorts of curious stones and gold, on 
four pillars of ruby, sapphire, emerald, and chry- 
solith, from every pillar comes forth a river, and 
these four rivers go from the ocean into the four 
quarters of the globe without mixing with the sea 
water. The first of these four rivers is the Nile, 
the second is the Jaihan (in Syria) ^Lsx^., the 
third, the Sai'han ^Isx*, and the fourth is the 

Another story of this sort is, that the angel to 

* In Boun-Dehesh it is said that all the rivers fall into the 
Ferakh-kand, and come from thence ; meaning, no doubt, by the 
evaporation of the water, which falls down as rain, and forms the 
rivers. The vulgar version of this theory, which is related here, 
afforded an opportunity to connect a fiction with the sacred rivers, 
of which there are everywhere four in Eastern tradition, although 
they do not agree as to their identity. Compare the note to page 
243, supra. 

This idea had been known to the Greeks, and defended by 
some of their philosophers in its grossest version. " Some think," 
says Aristotle, Meteor, ii., 2, " that the rivers flow (peiv) from 
the sea, and again into the sea : they become sweet by being fil- 
tered in their passage through the earth, and loose by this 
means their saltness." 


whose care the seas are confided immerges the heel 
of his foot into the sea at the extremity of China, 
and, as the sea is swelled, the flow takes place. 
Then he raises his foot from the sea, and the 
water returns into its former place, and this is the 
ebb. They demonstrate this by an example : If a 
vessel is only half full of water, and you put your 
hand or foot into it, the water will fill the whole 
vessel, and, when you take out the hand, the water 
will be as before. Some think that the angel puts 
only the great toe of his right foot into the water, 
and that this is the cause of the tide. 

The theories* just alluded to are neither proved 

JSAxVc *.A*J sljjTi Lc 


UJLc ^^ c^l U 


5 &\J4jj\ 
]! .aJfef L 

As the 


as facts, nor are they articles of faith (although 
they are put into the mouth of Mohammed) : they 
belong to that class of traditions which may be 
believed or rejected, for they rest ultimately on the 
authority of only one (of the companions of the 
Prophet), and but few have handed them down : 
they cannot be traced to many (of the companions), 
nor have they ever been generally acknowledged. 
And this is required to give to traditions authority, 
removing all possibility of interpolation. Only, 
if a tradition is founded on such (historical) 
evidence, which leaves no doubt respecting its 
authority, one must subject (one's reason) to it, 
and be guided by it ; for God has commanded that 
sacred traditions should be considered as positive 
laws, in the words "Receive what the Prophet has 
given (permitted) to you, and forbear from what he 
forbids you :" but the above traditions have not 
the character of authenticity. We have explained 
the different opinions on this subject. We have 
thought it necessary to enter into these details, 
in order to convince the reader that we are 
competent to judge on the questions which have 

As the word UJ^A^, which has been taken in the trans- 
lation as a technical term, and applying only to the knowledge of 
law, might be translated, " And we have made ourselves master 
of the subjects on which we speak in this book," the original 
text has been added. 


reference to revelation, alluded to in this or in any 
other of our works, and that he may not be misled 
by the misconstruction of critics of some other 
subjects on which we have treated. 

Some people count four seas in the cultivated 
world, others five, others six, and some bring them 
to seven ; all of which are connected and uninter- 
rupted. The first is the Abyssinian sea ^ 
then the Mediterranean ^jjJJ, the Pontus L 
the May otis ^kiLc, the Khazarian sea 
and the Ocean cr-JUil, which is also called the 
Green Sea, the Surrounding Sea, and the Dark Sea. 
The sea Mayotis is connected with the Pontus, 
which communicates with the Mediterranean 
through the strait of Constantinople; and the 
Mediterranean stands again in connexion with the 
Ocean or the Green Sea; they form therefore only 
one sea, as the waters are not separated. But they 
are in no connexion whatever with the sea of the 
Khazar (the Caspian). The Mayotis and Pontus 
should also be considered as one sea, and although 
these two seas, the greater of which is called the 
Pontus u*kJo, and the smaller and narrower Mayotis^ 
yJajLo, are only connected by a strait ; one ought 
to give to both together only one name, calling them 

* Both copies bear, the smaller sea is called Pontus, and the 
larger Mayotis. This must be a fault of the copyists. 


either Pontus or Mayotis. If we use hereafter the 
name Pontus or Mayotis, be it understood that the 
terms are to be taken in this meaning, (each of these 
two names) implying the smaller and the greater sea. 

El-Mas'udi says, many people have the wrong 
opinion that the sea of the Khazar stands in con- 
nexion with the Mayotis, but I have not seen one 
merchant who goes into the country of the Khazar, 
nor anybody else who sails on the sea of Mayotis 
and Pontus, to the Byzantine dominions or to the 
Targhiz, who agreed with the opinion that the sea 
of the Khazar is connected with any other sea 
either by a canal or by a strait, or in any other 
way excepting through the river of the Khazar. 
We will speak of the kingdom of the Khazar, and 
how the Russians brought their vessels into this 
(the Caspian) sea, (from the Black Sea), which 
happened after the year three hundred (of the 
Hijrah), in the chapter on the Caucasus and the town 
of Bab-el- Abwab. 

I have referred to many ancient and modern 
authors who have a great knowledge of the sea, and 
found that they state in their works that the strait 
of Constantinople begins from the sea of Mayotis, 
and proceeds to the sea of the Khazar, connecting 
them. I cannot comprehend how they come to 
this idea ; whether they know it from experience, or 
whether they deduce it from premises and conclu- 
sions, or perhaps they are under wrong impressions, 


and believe that the Russians who sail on this sea 
(the Black Sea) are the Khazar. I sailed from 
Aboskun ^^L^\ 9 which is a seaport on the coast 
of Jorjan, to Taberistan, and other countries, and 
asked every merchant and sailor possessed of any 
knowledge, whom I met, respecting this point, 
and every one of them informed me that one could 
not come by water into the Black Sea, except by the 
way which had been taken by the Russians. The 
inhabitants of er-Rum, Aderbaijan, el-Bailkan, [in 
the country near Berda'ah and other provinces,] of 
ed-Dailem, el-Jil, Jorjan, and Taberistan, were 
alarmed and made a general rise against them, for 
they had never before seen an enemy coming against 
them from those quarters, nor was such an invasion 
recorded since the most remote time. The fact to 
which we have just alluded is well known in the 
above-mentioned cities, nations, and countries, and 
they cannot deny it on account of its publicity. It 
happened in the reign of Ibn Abi-s-Saj. 

I read in a book, which bears the name of el- 
Kindi, and his disciple^ es-Sarakhsi, who lived with 
the Khalif el-Mo'tadhed, that there is a great lake 
in the north, at the extremity of the habitable world, 
extending as far as the north pole, and that there 
is a town near this lake of the name of Tuliah 
SJ^j, on the limits of the habitable world. This 
lake is also mentioned in the Memoirs of the 
Beni el-Monajjim. Ahmad Ben et-Taib es-Sarakhsi 


states, in his Memoir on the seas, waters, and 
mountains JUi^ *^U ^la^JJ ^ XJLw^,, on the autho- 
rity of el-Kindi, that the Mediterranean is six thou- 
sand miles long in its extent from Sur, Atrabolos 
(Tripolis), Antioch, el-Markab* t-o^U 9 the coast of 
el-Missisah, Tarsus, and Kalamiah Xx^i' (Xx^Xi'), to 
the pillars of Hercules, and that it is four hundred 
miles wide where it is broadest. 

This is what el-Kindi and Ibn et-Taib say. We 
have now stated what both parties say on this 
subject, and how far they differ from the astrono- 
mers, as we have found in their works, or heard 
from their followers. We cannot add the proofs 
with which they strengthen their statements ; for 
we have made it a rule for ourselves to be concise 
and short in this book. 

The various opinions of the Greeks and of other 
ancient philosophers, on the origin and cause of 
the seas, have been given in full detail in the 
second book ^3 of our Akhbar ez-zeman, which 
consists of thirty books: there all the theories 
respecting this subject are specified, under the 
names of their authors: the present work, how- 
ever, shall nevertheless contain a summary view of 
the various theories on this head. 

Some are of opinion that the sea is a remnant 

* The MSS. bear 4_Jul \ el-Mankib. 


of the primitive humidity, the greater portion of 
which has been dried up by fire, and that portion 
which remained has undergone a change through 
the process of burning, and has become salt. 
Some maintain that, when the whole of the primi- 
tive humidity underwent the process of burning 
under the revolutions of the sun, the pure part 
was separated, and the rest became salt and bitter*. 
Some consider the sea as the sweat of the earth f, 
which is caused by the constant revolutions of the 
sun round our planet. Some believe that the sea 
is the rest of the secondary humidity, which was 
left after the earth had extracted the purer part of 
it for the production of solid bodies : the same thing 
happens with sweet water ; if you pass it through 
sand, it will be found salt. Some are of opinion 

* " Some say, the region nearest to the solid mass of the 
globe was originally occupied by water round the whole earth; 
but subsequently it was evaporated, and dried up by the heat of 
the sun ; wind, and the revolutions of sun and moon, converted v 
the water which was left into sea (i.e., salt-water)." Aristotle, 
Meterol. ii., cap 1. 

This idea is universal, and is met with as early as Genesis. El- 
Kazwini seems to think that the greater part of the water which 
once surrounded our globe is now concentrated in the south- 
ern hemisphere, being attracted by the heat of the sun, which is 
greatest in the south pole, according to the ideas of the Arabs. 

f This opinion was defended by Empedocles. Pliny, lib. ii., 
Aristotle, Meteorol. ii., 1 . 


that the sweet and salt waters were originally mixed : 
the sun attracted the lighter (i.e., sweet water), 
and raised (evaporated) it. Some think the sun 
evaporates (the sweet water which is raised from 
the sea water) and feeds upon it*. Others object 
that the vapour becomes again water after it has 
been purified ; for, as the vapour rises to the higher 
and colder regions, it is condensed by the cold. 
Some persons argue that that portion of elementary 
water which has existed as vapour in the air, and 
has been condensed by the cold to which it was 
exposed there, is sweet ; whilst that portion of 
elementary water which has been exposed to the 
influence of burning is salt. 

Some reason thus : the water which flows into 
the sea from the high and low grounds of the 
earth absorbs, according to its nature, the salt 
which the earth throws out into its basin ; the 
particles of fire which are naturally in water, 
together with the particles of heat which emanate 
from the sun and moon, and cause the water, being 
mixed with it, to come forth from the earth, raise 
and evaporate the water by their raising (expansive) 
power, the finer particles of water, when it is above, 
are turned into rain. This process is constantly 
repeated, because this water becomes again salt ; 

* Aristotle, Meleorol. ii., 2. 


for the earth embues it again with saline particles, 
and the sun and moon deprive (the sea) again of the 
finer and sweet portions of the water (by evapora- 
tion). It is for this reason that the sea remains 
unchanged both in quantity and (specific) weight 
(salt dissolved in it); for the heat raises the finer 
portion of the sea water, and changes it into 
atmospheric humidity, in the same proportion 
as the same water flows again into the sea, in the 
form of streams, after it has become terrestrial 
humidity SUxJ^J*; for, being in the form of streams, 
it has a tendency to stagnate, and to form marshes 
flowing to the deepest places of the earth, and so it 
comes into the bed of the sea. The quantity of 
water remains, therefore, constant, and is neither 

* The Arabs have quite distinct names for different sorts of 
waters, as if they had considered them as different substances. This 
passage and what follows leads to the same idea; and, indeed, what 
can be more different in its reference to man than sea-water and 
spring- water ? We read, therefore, in the Zend-Avesta (vol. ii., 
p. 394, Boun-dehesch), u II est parle dans la loi de sept especes 
d'eaux : s^avoir, la premiere eau est celle qui est sur les arbres ; 
la seconde, celle qui, coulant des montagnes, forme les rouds ; 
la troisieme, 1'eau de pluie; la quatrieme, celle qui est appellee 
Armiste (creusee) ; la cinquieme, la semence des animaux, et 
celle des hommes ; la septieme, la sueur des animaux, et celle des 

After these seven humours follow seven others in the Zend- 
Avesta, which are produced by them. 


increased nor diminished. The springs are the 
hidden veins of the earth, pouring into the brooks, 
which fall into the rivers. This has been compared 
with the construction of animals. When an animal 
takes food, the limpid part of it is distributed 
through the body by the influence of warmth, and 
is destined for nutrition ; but the salt and bitter 
parts remain behind to be secreted as excrements, 
being not possessed of limpidity v^ r > an d this is 
the stuff of which urine and sweat consist. And as 
the nutritive humours are changed under the in- 
fluence of warmth, into bitterness (bile) and saltness, 
one will find that bitter (bilious) excrements, besides 
the urine and sweat, are secreted from the body, 
if the warmth is increased beyond its regular 
standard ; for all water that has been burnt is bitter. 
This is the theory of all ancients*. 

This can be demonstrated by an experiment. If 
you heat any liquor which contains a nutritive 
substance, like wine, vinegar, rose, saffron, or gilly- 
flower water, the spirituous particles fly away with 
the vapour which rises from it ; but if you heat salt 
water the case is different : the absorbed spirituous 
(salt) particles remain behind, particularly if the 
process of heating is repeated. The author of 
the Logic f (Aristotle) has many discussions on 

* Compare Aristotle, Meteorologica, ii.. 2 and 3. 
f Locis laudatis. 


this subject ; so he says that the sea- water is denser 
and more turbid than sweet water, which is limpid 
and clear; and that if we give to a piece of wax 
the shape of a vessel well shut, and lay it into salt 
water, we shall find that the water which penetrated 
into the vessel is sweet to the taste, and specifically 
lighter than sea-water ; whereas, the water round 
the vessel is more salt, and specifically heavier. 

Flowing water is called river ^ ; water coming 
forth from the earth is called spring (jj*c ; and 
water collected in a great mass is called sea j*=- * 

El-Mas'udi says there are many treatises extant 
on the water and its causes. In the second book 
of our work Akhbar ez-zeman, which comprises 
thirty books, we have exposed the proofs which 
have been brought forward in confirmation of the 
theories respecting the extent of the sea, its dimen- 
sions, the use of its saltness, its connections 
and divisions, its being neither liable to increase 
nor decrease, and respecting the reasons that the 
ebb and flow is greater in the Abyssinian sea 
than anywhere else. 

I have had many conversations with merchants 
of 'Oman and of Siraf, who are in the habit of 
navigating the seas of China, India, es-Sind, ez- 

* This includes lakes; for s^sr, the Arabic word for lake, 


is the diminutive of ..-ST sea. 


Zanj, Yemen, el-Kolzom, and of Abyssinia, and 
received information which differed from the ac- 
count given by philosophers and other men of 
learning, upon whose authority the dimensions and 
extent of the seas is usually stated. The sailors 
say that this sea, in certain directions, has no end. I 
made, also, the acquaintance of the sailors on the 
Mediterranean, both those on board of ships of war 
and of traders: they are the Nautse XAJ'^JM, the 
officers of the men*, and the captains L^l, and 
others who are intrusted with the management 
of vessels of war, as Lawi g^y Go^0> who has 
the surname Abul-Harb, and is a slave of Zorakah 
3}jj, the governor of Tripolis, in Syria, on the coast 
of Damascus. They are well acquainted with the 
length and breadth of the Mediterranean, with its 
gulfs and straits. I found such information in 
'Abdullah Ben Wazir, the governor of the town 
of Jobailahf, on the coast of Hims, in Syria; and at 
present,, that is to say, in 332 A.M., there is no 
man who knows the Mediterranean better than he. 
All vessels, the ships of war as well as traders, 
follow his advice, and trust in his knowledge and 
science, on account of his long experience. We 

* It is very likely that the original reading was , . ^.A 
and not Jca..^. 

f MSS. bear 2u*JLc, &k*. and 


have related the wonders of this sea, and the 
information which we have gathered respecting it, in 
the preceding pages, and we shall insert in our 
progress some further notices respecting it. 

Various signs have been stated which are said 
to indicate that water is to be found in the earth on 
digging. Some say experience has shown that in 
places where reeds, aquatic plants, grass, and other 
herbage grows, water will be found on digging; but 
the absence of such plants shows that water is 

I have found the following rule in the works on 
agriculture : If you wish to know whether the water 
is near or far, dig three or four cubits into the 
ground, then take a kettle of brass, or an earthen- 
ware jar, with a wide mouth; besmear the inside of 
it equally with grease: take clean white wool and 
a stone of the size of an egg, which you enclose 
in the wool, making a ball of it; then besmear 
the side of this ball with melted wax, patch it 
into the jar which has been anointed with oil or 
grease, and let it down into the bottom of the pit. 
The wool will be attached to the bottom of the jar 
through the wax, and it will be glued on the stone. 
Throw earth upon the vessel, one, two, or more 
cubits deep. All this is to be done after sunset. Hav- 
ingleft it in this state during the night, you remove the 
earth the next morning before the rising of the sun ; 
and if you find many drops of water adhering to the 

X 2 


inside of the vessel, one near the other, and if the 
wool be wet,, you may be sure that you will soon find 
water in that place; but if the drops be distant from 
each other, and if the wool be but little wet, you must 
dig to a great depth before you arrive at water; and 
if you see no drops, or only very few, either in the 
vessel or on the wool, you will find no water in this 
place, not even on digging deep. 

I found, in another copy of the works on agricul- 
ture, other rules concerning the same subject. If 
you wish to know whether you will soon come to 
water on digging, you have only to examine the 
back of the ants of that place: if they be thick, 
black, and heavy in their carriage, you will find the 
distance of the water in proportion to their carriage. 
But if they be light, and run so fast that you can 
hardly catch them, the water is at a distance of 
forty cubits. And the first water will be good and 
sweet, but the second will be heavy and salt. 
These are the signs for a man who means to dig for 
water: we have given a full account of this subject 
in our Akhbar ez-zeman. In this book we give 
merely general notices of subjects which are necessary 
to be known, without entering into details and illustra- 
tions, referring to the Akhbar ez-zeman, where we 
enter at greater length on these subjects. Let us 
now speak of the kings of the Chinese, and what 
belongs besides under this head. 



The Chinese Empire : its kings : their lives and 

THE historians do not agree respecting the Chinese 
and their origin. Many of them say that the 
children of 'Abur Ben Batwil Ben Yafeth Ben Nuh 


went north-east, when Falegh Ben 'Aber Ben 
Arfakhshad divided the earth amongst the sons of 
Nuh. A portion of them, descended from Ar'au jsj, 
took their way towards the north, dispersed there 
over the country, and formed a number of nations 
and kingdoms, as ed-Dailem jJoJJJ, el-Jil ^A.\ 

et-Tailisan ^LJUW? (UX^l et-Tatar* 

xU and el-Mukan 

* This nation must live west of the Caspian; I doubt, there- 
fore, whether Tatar is a correct reading. A MS., 7496, in the 

British Museum, which contains an ancient geographical work, 

mentions frequently this name; spelling it j\AJ! el-Bab r, and in 

one instance el-Bair. 

f This name is written el-Mufan in the MS. which appears 
to be nearest to the true reading of the name. The beginning 
of this chapter has been compared with an extract in en-Nowairi. 
The proper names have been transcribed in Arabic characters, as 
they are in the MSS., with all their faults; but, where it was safe, 
they have been corrected in the English transcript. 


or ^UyUi)* Further are the inhabitants of 
the Caucasus, who consist of various races of el- 
Lakz y&J (yfl or ^jSi\\), the Alans ^Wl (j, 
the Khazar ^yUthe Abkhaz Ji*y\ (jb$\ or 
the Serir jij*il\, the Cossaks ^T, and other 
nations descended from them. They are spread 
over those tracts and over the country along the 
Black Sea and the Mayotis, as far as Terabizond 
(Trebizond). They inhabit, also, the coast of the 
sea of the Khazar, of the Targhiz (Bulghar) , and 
other neighbouring nations. 

The children of Abur set over the river of 
Balkh (Oxus) : the most of them proceeded to 
China <jjyo, spread over the country, and formed 
empires, as the Khottal JJC-L! (j^il), who are the 
inhabitants of Khottalan & (^dH**)* the Dii- 
shan(?) ^l&jJ Cu^au or u^^) ^ e Oshrusanah 
x+r.pZ,y\ 9 the inhabitants of the Soghd x*aH who 
live between Bokhara and Samarkand, the Fergha- 
nians* Xj^VjiJ!, and the inhabitants of esh-Shash 
jiUJI, of Isbijab (Isfijab) ^l^^-^ (cj^J or ^1^0' 
and of the country belonging to Tarab cii^lXH 

* The Ferghanians formed one of the best corps of Turkish 
troops in the service of the 'Abbasides, and are frequently 
mentioned by historians; but as the dot upon the A is sometimes 
omitted in MS 8., Reiske and other authors have been led astray, 
and, considering the word to be derived from Fir'aun, they believed 
them to be Egyptians. 


(u^UM or jjjUJJ or eM^/jdJ. Some of these nations 
built cities and villages, whilst others live in 
steppes. Of the same origin are other nations, as 
the Turks j\, the Kharlajians* gO^Al (gojAJ)> 
and the Taghizghizf ^iy&J! who inhabit the town 
of Kusan ^^ (o^/O^ forming an empire between 
Khorasan and China; and they are at present [in 
332, A.H.] the bravest of all Turkish hordes. Their 
king has the title Irkhan;}: ^U-,1 (o^ or 6^ or 
^bjjj), and professes the doctrine of the Mani- 
cheans, which no other Turkish horde acknowledges. 
Farther are descended from 'Abur the Kaimakians 
/JI^M)' tne Marghinanians (?) XJU 
or axxsS'JsJJ or X/Jl^Jj), the Baunah 
, and the Jaghrians (?) x>j*iJ (*j*L\ or 

* The Tatar name of this horde is Kal-aj ^Jb*: t ^ ie y claim 
to be descended from Oghuz Khan. Deguignes, Hist, des Huns, 
Vol. ii., p. 9, and Abulghazi Bahadur Khan, edit. Tatar, p. 14. 

f On the various ways in which the name of this horde is 
spelt, from which the Tulunides were descended, the reader may 
consult Roorda's Abul Abbasi Ahmedis Vita, Leyden, 1825, 
p. 50. 

J Irkhan (.jU^ot means the khan of men. The reading 
of one copy is Ilkhan i.e., the khan of the nation ; the latter is a 
title frequently met with in Tatar history, and this reading should 
have deserved the preference, if this title were not in all other 
passages of el-Mas'udi, where this prince is mentioned, distinctly 
written Irkhan. 


or AAjyiit). The bravest of them are the 
Ghizians *tyA\, and the best formed and hand- 
somest are the Kharlajians X/oiyLt (^i^t or 
XxT^L! or X/J->i!) who inhabit Ferghanah XJU^J, 
esh-Shash jfclcjJJ, and the adjacent country. They 
have the sway over the Turks, and the Khakan of 
the Khakans (^Si^L! 6^'^ is of their horde: 
all the Turkish nations obey him, and all other 
Turkish kings are his vassals. One of these 
Khakans was Ferasiab the Turk, who conquered 
Persia: another of them was Sanah 3oL>. The 
Khakan of the Turks extends his sway at present 
over all Turkish kings, since the town in the 
steppes of Samarkand, which had the name 'Amat 
cl$ (c>Uc), was destroyed. We have related under 
what circumstances the government was removed 
from this city, in our book called Kitab el-ausat. 

One part of the children of 'Abur came as far 
as the frontiers of India. The climate of the country 
impressed its character upon them ; and they are in 
their complexion like the Hindus, and not like 
other Turks. Some of them are settled, whilst 
others are wandering. Another portion of them is 
settled in et-Tubbet dL^xJ!. They placed their 
government to the hands of a king, who was 
subject to the khakan ; but, when the power of the 
khakan had ceased, the Tubbetians gave to their 
king the title khakan, imitating the former Turkish 


The majority of the children of 'Abur followed 
the course of the river to the extremity of China. 
There they spread over the country, fixed their 
abode, and cultivated the land ; they formed communi- 
ties, established capitals, and built towns. They 
founded a large city for the residence of their king, 
which they called Anku* yu! (yot or ly*J)}; this 
city is three months' journey from the Abyssinian 
sea; the whole interjacent country is covered with 
towns and well-cultivated. Their first king in this 
new settlement was LotsatisBenNa'ur BenYarej Ben 
'Abiir Ben Yafeth Ben Nuh U 

L ^jj. When he was on the throne 
he spread his subjects over the country, dug canals, 
planted trees, taught the use of the fruits as food, 
and killed the lions (wild beasts). He reigned 
about three hundred years ; then he died, and was 
succeeded by his son 'Arun Ben Lotsatis (^j#jz* 
He put the corpse of his father in a golden statue 
JlA^JI, as an expression of his veneration and 
regretf . The statue was put on a golden throne, 

* Abulfeda writes Yanju >-**? \ the . j and o k in these two 
ways of spelling seem both to be meant to express the sound of g. 
This town is supposed to be Nanking, which is called Kiang- 
Ming by the Chinese. 

j It is well known that this practice prevails among the 


studded with precious stones. He himself took his 
seat under this throne, worshipping the dead, and so 
did all the inhabitants of the kingdom every morning 
and evening. He reigned about two hundred and 
fifty years. After him, his son 'Abirun Ben 'Arun 

6^^ (^ Uij* 1 ^ (j&**s came to the throne. He 
also put the body of his father into a golden statue, 
which he placed one step lower than that of his 
grandfather. He first addressed his prayers to his 
grandfather, and then to his father. His government 
was very good, and he never did anything without 
asking his subjects for their opinion. Equity was 
everywhere exercised, the population increased*, and 
the soil was cultivated during his reign, which 
lasted two hundred years. His son 'Athinan Ben 
'Abirun J^AXC ^ u^c (^AAC) succeeded him. 
He observed the same usage, of putting the body of 
his father in a golden statue and worshipping it. 
His was a long reign, and his territory extended to 
the country of the Turks, the descendants of his 
uncle. In his days, arts to promote the comforts of 

Chinese. Abulghazi ascribes the same usage to the ancient 
Tatars ; and he agrees in this point, as in many others, with 
Herodotus, lib. iv. 

* It deserves to be noticed that the increase of mankind is 
considered in the east as the object of human society and the 
criterion of a good government, just as we consider the greatest 
happiness to the greatest number as such. 


life, and other trades, became frequent. He lived 
four hundred years, and had Jaraban his son 
^U-JAT lrj j ^^ as successor. He ordered, first, 
ships to be built, manned them, loaded them with the 
produce of China, and sent them to India, es-Sind, 
Babylonia, and other kingdoms near and far. He 
made to the kings the most rare presents, and sent 
them costly gifts; and he gave orders to his sailors 
to bring him from every country what is beautiful 
and exquisite for the table, or for dress and furniture, 
not found in his own kingdom. He ordered them to 
make themselves acquainted with the forms of govern- 
ment of every empire, and with the religious tenets, 
laws, and moral state of every nation; and that they 
should ask the people for precious stones, perfumes, 
and instruments. The vessels went out, and sepa- 
rated to visit various countries, following the orders 
of their king. Wherever they landed the inhabitants 
were surprised at them, and admired what they 
brought. Kings, whose dominions were on the sea 
coast, built vessels, and ordered them to sail to 
China, in order to import into China such products 
as were wanting there. They wrote to the king, 
acknowledging the presents of his country and send- 
ing others in return. So China advanced in her 
civilization and prosperity. The king died after a 
reign of about two hundred years, to the greatest 
affliction of his subjects. The public mourning 
lasted one month. Tutal Ben Jaraban 


y.'jjj was his son and successor. He 
put the corpse of his father into an image of gold, 
and observed the usages of former kings. He 
brought his affairs into order and made some praise- 
worthy new institutions : the like none of his prede- 
cessors had made. He said to his countrymen, an 
empire cannot exist without justice, for justice is 
the balance of God,, and it is productive of an 
increase of prosperity and of good actions. He 
created courtiers and nobles, and gave crowns as 
marks of distinction. He formed ranks among the 
people according to their pursuits. He went out to 
seek a place for a temple, and he found a spot with 
luxuriant herbage, covered with flowers and well 
watered. There he marked out the foundation of a 
temple. Stones of various colours and descriptions 
were brought to the spot, and the construction went 
on. A cupola was raised on the top with air-holes, 
and the whole fabric was in perfect symmetry. In 
the temple were cells for persons who wished to 
shut themselves up for the service of God. When 
the whole edifice was completed, he put in its 
uppermost part the statues which contained the 
bodies of his fathers, giving orders to worship 

He assembled the great men of his empire, and 
acquainted them of his intentions to unite all his 
subjects into one religion, to which they could 
always appeal. Religion should be the tie of union 


and order; for he observed that, if a government has 
lost sight of religion, it is exposed to dissolution, 
corruption, and vice. He founded the government, 
therefore, on sacred laws and positive regulations 
dictated by reason, which should form the basis: he 
made a penal code : he fixed the conditions under 
which matrimony should be legitimate, to induce 
women to become mothers, and to render the ties 
between father and child firm ; and he made a 
distinction between the laws; enforcing some as 
positive and obligatory commands, which are 
violated by neglecting the observance of their 
tenor ; whilst he left others open to the will of 
the individual ,JJ!p ; for they should only serve as 
guides. He prescribed to his subjects certain 
prayers, and regulated the divine service. There 
is, however, no inclination nor prostration observed 
in their prayers, which are performed at fixed times 
of day or night ; but, in the prayers which are to be 
said at certain times in the year and months, pros- 
trations and inclinations are to be made. He 
instituted feasts. Fornication is under certain 
restrictions belonging to the criminal laws. If a 
woman means to prostitute herself, she has to pay 
a certain tax ; but if she refuses the embraces of 
men for some time, or if she gives up the practice 
altogether, she has no longer to pay the tax. 
The sons of such women are enlisted in the (stand- 
ing) army of the king; but the girls are left to the 


mothers, and are generally initiated in their trade. 
He prescribed sacrifices and incense which were to 
be offered in the temples. To the stars incense 
was offered; and for every star a certain time was 
fixed on which its favour was particularly solicited, 
by burning incense, perfumes, and certain drugs. 
He defined everything which his subjects had to do. 
He enjoyed a long life, had a numerous pos- 
terity, and died after a reign of about one hundred 
and fifty years. This king was much lamented. 
They put his body into a coffin of gold ornamented 
with precious stones, and built him a grand mau- 
soleum, on the top of which they placed seven gems 
of different colours, answering to the seven planets, 
that is to say, to the sun and moon (^1^1), and 
the five stars, in shape and colour. The day of his 
death was celebrated as a holy day, in which they 
assembled at his mausoleum and said many prayers. 
His portrait and an account of his life were engraved 
on a plate of gold, and deposited on the top of the 
mausoleum, where everybody could see them, that they 
should serve as an example, and as an exhortation 
to follow his good government. The history of his 
life and his portrait are also represented on the 
gates of the town, on coins of gold and copper <j*>Xj 
and on dresses*. 

* Ibn Khaldun observes that the Persian kings had dresses the 
woof of which was gold, and represented various figures, particu- 


Their money consists, for the most part, of 
copper and brass coins. This city became the 
residence of the kings of China. The name of it 
is Anku lyut 0>+^), and it is three months' journey 
distant from the Abyssinian sea. They have 
another large town called Madu _j<x (\*i Amid), in 
the north-west of their empire, towards et-Tubbet 
C^AAJI. Madu and et-Tubbet keep up a constant 
warfare, without either party being conquerors or 

Order in the affairs of the empire, good govern- 
ment, and prosperity continued under the suc- 
cessors of this king: justice was everywhere 
exercised, and injustice was banished from their 
country. They followed the regulations made by 
the former kings, whom we have mentioned; and 
they kept up the wars with their enemies. Their 
frontiers were well guarded by soldiers, the armies 
received their pay regularly., and merchants flocked 
there, by land and sea, from all parts of the world. 
They were of the ancient faith, the Samanean reli- 
ligion* X/JfxJI XJu, which is about the same as the 

larly the portraits of the kings : they were manufactured in their 
own palaces, and given as presents to men of distinction. This 
costume went over to the Arabs. 

* The Mefatih el-'olum (MS. of Leyden, No. 314) contains 
the following important passage respecting the Samaneans : 


belief of the Koraishites before Mohammed. They 
worshipped symbols, towards which they turned 
their faces in praying. Persons of intellect ad- 
dressed their prayers to the Almighty, andi they 
considered the images of idols and other symbols 

" The Samaneans are the Arabs who follow the doctrine of 
Saman. They are idolaters, who maintain that the world had no 
beginning: they believe in the metempsychosis, and that the 
earth is constantly declining. 

" In the most ancient times all the nations were either Saman- 
eans or Chaldeans. The Samaneans are idolaters. The Chal- 
deans are also called Sabeans and Harranians ; for the remnants of 
them live in Harran and el- 'Irak. They believe that Yudasif 
(Yudasp), the rebel of India, was their prophet. This Budasif 
(Budasp: this seems to be more correct than Yudasif) was 
contemporaneous with the king Tahmurth, and the Persian 
writing comes from him. The name of Sabeans was applied to 
them at the time of el-Mamun, and meant originally a Christian 
sect. In India and China are the remnants of the Samaneans." 

Hamzah of Ispahan (MS. of Leyden) confirms literally the 
words of the Mefatih el-'olum. 


merely as objects to fix their eyes upon 
whilst the uneducated and ignorant confounded 
these symbols with the Almighty, and worshipped 
them both (God and the symbols) together. The 
adoration of the idols brought them nearer to God, 
although the notions expressed in their religious 
service were too concrete to be adequate to the 
sublimity, greatness, and majesty of the divinity. 
The service which they performed to these idols 
was nevertheless an expression of obedience to God, 
and it brought them nearer to him. 

This continued until speculations and sectarian- 
ism grew up in China: then rose the Dualists, and 
those who believe on a time without limits J^i 
^fcjO!. Previous to these innovations, they had 
worshipped images, like the higher and lower classes 
in India. These religious quarrels caused a com- 
plete revolution: they had not been without specu- 
lation, but they had referred in all questions to the 
ancient sacred laws. 

The Chinese empire borders on the kingdom of 
the Taghizghiz y.y&\ t and it was from them that 
they received the doctrine of Manes 45^-0 > f a gd 
of light and darkness. Previously they had been 
in ignorance, and had the same system of worship 
as the various Turkish hordes, until a satan of a 
Manichean came to them, and preached to them in 
flowery phrases of the discord which prevails in this 


world ; the opposition of life and death, health and 
illness, rich and poor, light and dark, separation and 
union, continuity and division, rising and setting, 
existence and non-existence, night and day, and other 
things which are opposite to each other. He named 
to them the different pains and frailties to which all 
animals are subject, hoth those endowed with speech 
and those deprived of this faculty; and by which 
even children, and persons not possessed of their 
mental faculties, are tortured ; adding that, as God 
the Almighty did not stand in need of their suffer- 
ings, they must be ascribed to a powerful opposite 
principle, which was active in contaminating what 
is good and moral ; and that this was in God. Far 
be from God what he professed ! for he is the 
Exalted, the Great. Manes mislead by this and 
similar theories their reason, and they believed 
them. When the King of China was a Shamanean 
c^oi he sacrificed animals, and was constantly at 
war with Irkhan ^U^l the king of the Turks; 
but, when he had turned Manichean, they became 
on terms of friendship. 

The kings (and governors) of China follow 
different sects and religions, and they are at variance 
in their faith. But they are not biassed so as to 
abandon the laws commanded by reason, and sacred 
by usage, in making regulations and passing sen- 
tences. The laws of reason are acknowledged by 
all sects. 


The Chinese are divided into tribes and branches, 
like the tribes and families of the Arabs. They 
bestow great care upon the preservation of their 
genealogies; and some persons can name fifty an- 
cestors: many know them as far back as 'Abur. 
Persons of the same family do not intermarry ; so, 
for instance (referring for an example to Arabia), a 
man of the Modhar tribe would marry a woman of 
the Rabi'ah tribe, and a man of the Rabfah would 
marry into the Modhar tribe; or a Kahlan man 
would marry a Himyarite woman, and a Himyarite 
a woman of the Kahlan tribe. They are of opinion 
that the children of such a match will be of a good 
constitution; and, indeed, tjiis law contributes to 
public health and longevity. 

China* continued to be in a flourishing condi- 
tion, as it had been under the ancient kings, up 
to the year 264 of the Hijrah, when some event 
happened which destroyed order, paralysed the 
laws, and prevented the nation from opposing their 
enemies, up to our time [332 A.H.]. These dis- 
orders were caused by a rebel, who, although he 
was not of royal blood, rose in some town of China. 
His name was Baishu Shirrir jj.jJ* ^\-> Orf^ 
He began with liberality, by which he 

* Compare Ancient Account of India and China, from page 
40 to page 44. 

Y 2 


atracted the worst and lowest classes. The king 
and the lords of the council were not watchful 
enough, on account of his obscurity ; for he was a 
man of no importance. His cause became strong, 
his name famous, and his numbers and power 
increased; for the bad came to join him from far 
and near. 

When his army was numerous enough, he 
quitted the place where he had begun the rebellion. 
He sent corps out to make predatory incursions 
into the well-cultivated parts of the country ; and 
finally he besieged the city of Khaniku lyuU. 
(Canton). This is a very large town, situated on a 
river greater than the Tigris, or about the same: it 
falls into the sea of China, six or seven days' 
from the said city. Through this river the 
ships go up which come from el-Basrah *j*3^\, 
Siraf oV^-i, 'Oman ^l, the various towns of India 
and es-Sind, the islands of ez-Zanij, from es-Sinf, 
and other countries, with their cargoes and goods. 
This town is inhabited by Moslims, Christians, Jews, 
and Magians, besides the Chinese. The said rebel 
marched towards this city, besieged it, and put the 
army of the king, which was come to relieve it, to 
flight. He violated what is sacred; and, having 
increased his army, he took Khaniku by storm. 

When he was master of the city, the victims 
who fell under the sword of the rebels were innu- 
merable; and the number of Moslims, Christians, 


and Jews alone, exclusive of the Chinese population, 
who were killed or drowned for fear of the sword, 
amounted to two hundred thousand. These were 
counted ; for the kings are in the habit of keeping a 
census of the population of their dominions, both of 
their subjects and of foreigners who are resident 
there. There are special officers and men for the 
census Lei. This gives them a view of the state of 
the population of their empire. The assailants cut 
down the mulberry plantations round the town, which 
were of importance, their leaves being the food of 

the silkworm, which yields the silk. This destruc- 

. '^"T^^^C' " 

tion of the trees was the cause why silk has failed^ 

and that the exportation of this article into the 

Moslim countries is stagnated. Baishii overran , 

with his army one place after another; and having 
increased his troops with people of bad character, 
whose only object was plunder, he marched towards 
Ankii, which is the residence of the king. He had 
an army of three hundred thousand men, cavalry 
and infantry. The king and his court met him with 
about one hundred thousand men. About one month 
of constant fight both parties stood their ground, 
but after this period the king was defeated and put 
to flight: the rebel pursued him a long way. The 
king took refuge in a town in the extremity of 
China. The rebel took possession of the metropolis 
and the royal palace, and appropriated to himself the 
treasures of the former kings, and those which they 


had given to their higher officers. He overran the 
rest of the country, and conquered other towns; but 
he saw that he could not keep the throne, not being 
of royal blood. He spread destruction over all the 
country, confiscated property, and shed blood. 
The town in which the king had taken refuge was 
Madii, of which we have already spoken as being 
on the frontier of et-Tubbet. 

The king of China wrote to Irkhan, the king of 
the Turks, to implore his assistance : informing 
him how he was situated, and explaining to him 
what was the duty of kings, if asked for aid by 
their brother kings, and that it was a law of royalty 
and a duty to assist each other. The Turkish 
monarch sent his son in aid,, with four hundred 
thousand men, cavalry and infantry. The two 
parties met, and the war was undecided between 
them for about a year : the numbers of men killed 
on both sides was enormous. Then the rebel 
disappeared, or, as some say, he was killed or burnt. 
His children and court were made prisoners, and 
the king of China returned to his residence. 

The common people give to the king the title 
Baghbur (or Faghfiir*), which means the son of 

or jJuW' In tne Kamus the first syllable is 
marked with a dhammah ; but this seems to be wrong. Bagh 
means, according to el-Asma'i, god or idol : hence Bagdad means 
the gift of God, and Bagistan a temple (Bagoda ?), in the Sind 


heaven *UvJl ^j] ; but the title by which he is 
addressed is Ti'emhian ^U:=zv*k, (Tien-hia,) and 
not Baghfur. 

The governor of every district made himself 
independent in his province, in the same manner as 
the kings of the satrapies cJbyjJ J'^Ju, after 
Alexander, the son of Philip, the Macedonian, 
had killed Dara Ben Dara, king of Persia, and 
almost in the same way as it is with us at present, 
in 332 A.H. The king of China being satisfied with 
their nominal submission, and that they laid the 
affairs of the empire before him, did not chose to 
send armed force into every one of his provinces, 
to fight those who had made themselves masters of 
them. As the king's power was so limited, those 
independent governors of the provinces withheld 
the revenue, and he was glad enough to be in peace 
with them. Every one of these petty kings invaded 
the country of his neighbours as much as his power 

and Persian languages, particularly in Pehlewi. Bur means son. 
In the East the ether or heaven has been considered as God; and 
hence the word Bagh seems to imply both meanings. Bagfur 
is, therefore, a literal translation of Tien-t9e. " Pour mieux 
faire comprendre de quel ciel ils veulent parler," says Visdelou, 
" ils poussent la genealogie plus loin. Ils lui (to the emperor) 
donnent le ciel pour pere, la terre pour mere, le soleil pour frere 
aine, et la lune pour soeur ainee." 


allowed. By these means the public order and 
welfare were destroyed which had existed under 
the former kings,, under whom the government 
and administration were good, and justice was ad- 
ministered according to the law of reason (for they 
had no revealed code like the Koran). 

It is related* that a merchant of the town of 
Samarkand, in Khorasan, went from his home, with 
a good stock of wares, to el-'Irak, where he 
bought many goods of this country, and preceded 
to el-Basrah. He went by sea to 'Oman, whence 
he directed his voyage to Kolah XK, which is half 
way to China, or about that. It is at present the 
commercial mart of the Moslim vessels of Siraf 
and 'Oman, where they meet with the merchants of 
China, who come to this island in their own vessels. 
In most ancient times it was different ; for the 
Chinese vessels used to come to 'Oman, Siraf, to 
the coasts of Faris, and el-Bahrein, to el-Obollah, 
and el-Basrah (which had then the name of Farj 
el-Hind); and in the same way the vessels went 
from the ports mentioned as far as China. But 
since justice was no longer practised, and under 
the depraved state of government which we have 
described, both parties meet half way. 

The said merchant went at Kolah on board a 

* Compare Ancient Account of India and China, translated 
by Renaudot, London, 1733, from page 69 to page 73. 


Chinese vessel, which brought him into the sea-port 
of Khaniku. The king sent a eunuch from his 
court, on whom he had particular confidence (to 
purchase wares). In China eunuchs are appointed 
in the revenue department and other offices : some 
parents, therefore, castrate their children, in order 
that they may rise to power. This officer (the 
eunuch) came to Khaniku; there he sent for the 
merchants, among whom was the Khorasanian. 
They showed him the wares which he required, and 
he chose what he thought might meet the king's 
wishes. The Khorasanian asked a higher price 
for his wares than he felt inclined to pay: after a 
dispute, it came so far, that the officer gave orders 
to imprison him, and to force him (to yield). The 
merchant had confidence in the justice of the king, 
and went directly to Anku, the residence of the 
king, and presented himself in the place of the 
oppressed (court of appeal). It is the usage of 
the country, that the plaintiff, whether he come 
from a remote place, or is a resident of the capital, 
puts on a peculiar dress of red silk,, which is like a 
shirt, and presents himself in a place designed for 
appeals against oppression. Some of the provincial 
kings have to receive there the plaintiffs who may 
present themselves. They come, therefore, before 
this court, from the distance of one month by post. 
This was the case with the said merchant, and he 
stood before the officer of this department. He 


came to him and said, "Thou undertakes! an im- 
portant matter,, and exposest thyself to great danger ; 
consider well whether thou art sure of the truth of 
thy statement : if not, I will send thee back to the 
place from whence thou earnest." These words are 
addressed to every one who comes to demand 
redress; and if the party shrinks, and vaccillates in 
the accusation, he is sent home, after a bastinado of 
one hundred strokes ; but, if he insists on his state- 
ment, he is brought before the king to trial. When 
the merchant continued in his* prosecution, and 
when they saw that he insisted on the truth of his 
assertion without fear or hesitation, he had an 
audience of the king. He stood before him and 
related his case. When the interpreter had ex- 
plained his complaint to the king, he allotted him 
a habitation, and loaded him with kindness. 

He sent for the vizier, and for the leaders of 
the centre and of the right and left wings. These 
are officers who are appointed to these commands 
in time of peace, that, in case a war should break 
out, every one may know his place and duties. 
The king ordered every one of them to write to 
their respective officers in Khaniku, [for every one 
has a lieutenant in every province of the king- 
dom, with whom he is in correspondence,] and to 
request them to send in a statement of the particulars 
of the case of the merchant and the eunuch. The 
king wrote equally to his lieutenant in that province. 


The case had become known there, and the letters 
which came back by post confirmed the truth of the 
merchant. The king of China has, on the roads of 
all his provinces, mules with docked tails*, for the 
post, and for the transport of parcels WyLt 

Then the king sent for the eunuch, he deprived 
him of his favour, and he said, " Thou hast ill- 
treated a merchant, who has come from a distant 
country. He has made a long journey by land and 

* Jo >xJ!j post, is derived from the Persian word buridah 
jjju vj, which means dock-tailed: for the mules used for this 
purpose had their tails docked. Berid means the post mule, the 
messenger who rides it, and the distance from one station X5ws 
to another, where the mules were changed, which was about two 
farsangs : some authors say four ; and from Ibn Khordadbeh it 
appears to have been six miles. The letter-carrier is called 
c VU^iU in Arabic: this word is a corruption of the Persian 
word xJLwj a servant. In the post-office jy nj\ /.J*J* every 
letter or parcel put to post, or come by post, was entered *S*.j 
in a list - uXjtj which was called ^jX^^J in Arabic, that is to 
say, (_ .b tS \\ In this list the number of letters and parcels 
was named, and the address of every one of them specified. 

The Bodleian library of Oxford is in possession of a very 
ancient MS. of Ibn Khordadbeh's Geography. The author was 
post-master-general somewhere in Khorasan, towards the end of 
the third century, and his book is nothing more than a road-book, 
naming all the post stations, and the distances from one place to 
another. From this book the distances of places in all other 
Arabic geographers are copied, but not always very correctly. 


sea, and has passed many kingdoms without any 
adversity. He made up his mind to come to my 
empire, in confidence on my justice, and thou hast 
treated him thus ! If he had returned from my states 
thus ill-treated, he would have spread unfavourable 
reports in other kingdoms, and my name and 
government would have been branded with ignominy. 
If it were not in consideration of thy former services, 
I should put thee to death ; but now I will inflict a 
punishment upon thee which is harder than death. 
I appoint thee (to guard) the tombs of the kings. 
Thou shalt be with the dead, since thou hast 
acquitted thyself so ill of thy duties and my orders 
among the living." 

The king heaped great favours on the merchant, 
and sent him to Khaniku (Canton), saying, " If 
thou meanest to sell to us such wares as we may 
choose, thou shalt have a good price for them; but 
if thou dost not feel inclined to sell, thou art the 
master over thy property. Stay if thou likest, sell 
what thou pleasest, and go wheresoever thou 
choosest." The eunuch was sent to the tombs of 
the kings. 

There is a curious story related of the king of 
China*. A man of Koraishite origin, of the family 

* Compare Ancient Account of India and China, by two 
Mohammedan travellers, translated by Renaudot, London, 1733, 
from page 51 to page 59. 


of Habbar Ben el-Aswad,* Jy^ ^j ,/** came, 
during the well-known invasion of the leader of the 
Zanj, from el-Basrah to Siraf. He had been a 
great man at el-Basrah, and had a good fortune. 
From Siraf he made a voyage to India : there he 
went from one vessel into another, landing in 
various places of India, until he came to China. 
When he had come to Khaniku, he had a fancy to 
visit the royal residence, which was then in the 
town of Hamdan (Cumdan) ^Jj^: this is one of 
the largest and most important cities of the empire. 
He remained a long while in the royal palace, and 
sent a memorial to the king, in which he stated 
that he was of the family of the Arabic prophet. 
The king provided him with lodgings, and ordered 
whatever he might require to be given him, and 
every comfort procured for him. In the mean time 
he wrote to the king (governor) at Khaniku, and 
gave him orders to inquire of the merchants 
respecting the man who claimed to be a relation of 
the prophet of the Arabs. The answer of the 
governor of Khaniku confirmed the truth of what 
he had said. The king gave him access to the 
court, and made him rich presents, with which he 
subsequently returned to el-Irak. 

He was an intelligent man, and related that, 

* See, for a notice of this family, Reiske's notes to Abul- 
feda y Annal. Moslem, vol. i. 


when he was presented before the king, he asked 
him respecting the Arabs, and how they made an 
end to the Persian empire. "We were assisted by 
God," answered the Arab, " because they wor- 
shipped the fire, sun, and moon, instead of the 
Almighty God. The Arabs have conquered the 
most celebrated, populous, and richest countries, 
which have the greatest deltas (which are the 
sources of fertility) : they have subjected nations of 
the greatest intellect and fame." He asked him 
further what was the gradation in dignity of the 
kings of the earth. " I do not know," replied the 
Arab. The king ordered the interpreter to ex- 
plain to him: " We count five great kings: the 
most powerful of them is he who is in possession of 
el-'Irak; for this country is in the middle of the 
world, and is surrounded by all other kingdoms. 
We give him, since ancient times, the title of king 
of kings. After him ranks this our king, to whom 
we give the title of king of men (mankind (j*UJj). 
No government is better than ours, no monarch 
more absolute and firm in his power than our 
king, nor do the subjects of any other mo- 
narch yield such strict obedience as we to our 
king. We are the kings of men. After our- 
selves follows the king of the lions U**M J0u ; 
this is the king of the Turks, our neighbour. They 
are men-lions. Next to them ranks the king of 
the elephants; that is to say, the king of India, 
which has with us the name of the kingdom of 


wisdom ; for the Hindus have invented philosophy. 
Then follows the Byzantine king, whom we call the 
king of men (jU.yf) ; for no men on earth have 
better constitutions or finer countenances than the 
Byzantines. These five stand at the head of kings: 
all others are beneath them." 

He asked him through his interpreter whether 
he could recognize his Lord, that is to say, the Pro- 
phet, if he should see him. " How can I see him?" 
said the Arab; " he is with God." " I do not mean 
it literally, " said the king, "but in a representation." 
He answered in the affirmative. The king ordered 
a box to be brought ; and, when it was before him, 
he took a casket out from it, and said to the inter- 
preter, show 7 him his Lord; " and I saw (relates the 
Arab), in the casket, the images of the prophets. 
My lips muttered benedictions upon them. The king 
did not know that I knew them ; hence, he said to 
the interpreter, ' Ask him why he moves his lips.' 
He interrogated me, and I answered him that I was 
pronouncing benedictions upon the prophets. He 
asked me further how I recognized them, and I told 
him that I knew them by the attributes with which 
they were represented. ' This,' I exclaimed, ' is 
Nuh in the ark ; he has been saved with those who 
were with him whilst God submerged the whole 
earth, and all that was on it.' He smiled, and 
said, It is Nuh, as thou sayest ; but it is not true 
that the whole earth was inundated. The flood 


occupied only a part of the globe, and did not reach 
our country. Your traditions are correct, as far as 
that part of the earth is concerned which you inha- 
bit; but we, the inhabitants of China, of India, of es- 
Sind, and other nations, do not agree with your 
account; nor have our forefathers left us a tradition 
agreeing with yours on this head. As to thy belief 
that the whole earth was covered with water, I must 
remark that this would be so remarkable an event 
that the terror would keep up its recollection, and all 
the nations would have handed it down to their 
posterity.' I endeavoured to answer him, and to 
bring forth arguments against his assertion in 
defence of my statement. Then I continued, ' This 
is Musa with his rod, and the Israelites.' 'Yes,' 
observed the monarch, * it is he with his energy 
*X>Jt X$ against the corruption of his nation.' 
'There is Christ/ exclaimed the Arab, 'riding on 
an ass, and with him the apostles.' The king 
made the observation that his career was but short, 
having hardly lasted longer than thirty months." 
A great number of other prophets were shown, and 
comments made on their history. So much we 
have selected as a specimen (of the account of this 

This Koraishite, who was known under the 
name of Ibn Habbar J^& (^^> recollected to have 
seen long inscriptions over every figure, containing, 
as he believed, the name, the country, the length of 


the life, the reason of the prophetic mission, and 
the biography of every prophet. 

" Then," proceeds this man in his narrative, " I 
saw the image of the prophet Mohammed sitting on a 
camel, and surrounded by his companions, who wore 
Arabic shoes of camels' leather on their feet. They 
had girdles tied round their waists, on which 
their dentifrice was suspended. I could not help 
shedding tears at this sight, and he made the 
interpreter ask me for the reason of my emotion. 
' This,' I answered, * is our prophet,, our lord and 
my nephew (relation) ; may God bless him !' 
'What thou sayest is true,' replied the king; 'He 
and his nation came to the possession of the finest 
territories, he himself, however, had them not under 
his power^ but his successors.' I saw the images 
of many prophets: one of them joined his fore-finger 
and thumb into a ring, as if he meant to indicate 
that the creation of God forms a ring ; another had 
his fore-finger and thumb pointed to the heavens, 
expressing that he resigns all the goods of this 
world for what is above. 

" The king asked me respecting the khalifs,, 
their dress, and many questions concerning the 
divine laws, and I answered him to the best of my 
knowledge. He asked me also what we believe to 
be the age of the world. I said, 'The Moslims do 
not agree in this point; some state it to be six 
thousand years, and some give a higher, and others 



a lesser number.' He asked me whether this had 
been taught by our prophet. I answered, 'Yes. J 
He and his vizier laughed, and he expressed by a 
sign that he did not approve of my answer. * I do 
not think/ said he, 'your prophet can have said 
this: thou must be wrong.' I made a mistake, and 
answered, 'Yes, he said so.' When I made this 
reply, I saw by his brow that he disapproved of it. 
Then he ordered his interpreter to tell me that I 
should weigh my words, observing that kings wish 
to have a positive and true answer. ' Thou allow- 
est that you do not agree on this head, and yet 
thou sayest that you have a tradition of the Pro- 
phet on it. What prophets say excludes contro- 
versy, and it must be received with faith. Take 
care, therefore, not to say such contradictions/ 
He made many other observations, which I cannot 
remember, on account of the length of time. 
Finally, he said, 'Do not separate thyself from thine 
own king; for he is nearer to thee than I, both with 
respect to home and consanguinity.' I related to 
him the circumstances which brought me from 
el-Basrah to Siraf; 'Then,' I continued, ( l had 
a great desire to see thee, O king! having heard so 
much of the stability of thy empire, of the per- 
fection of thy institutions and justice, and of thy 
excellent government, which extends its beneficial 
influence over all thy subjects. I was longing to 
see thy kingdom, and to witness its prosperity; 


and now, having seen it, I shall return to my native 
soil, and into the dominions of my nephew (rela- 
tion), to relate how perfect and glorious I found 
this kingdom, how extensive this country, how 
universal the practice of justice, which emanates 
from thy wise institutions. Every word shall ex- 
press my admiration and thy praise, O, most glo- 
rious monarch!' He was delighted with my 
words, awarded precious gifts to me, and sent me 
by post to Khaniku. The governor of the last- 
mentioned city received orders to treat me respect- 
fully, to present me to all distinguished persons 
there, and to lodge me till I could set out on my 
voyage. I lived there most splendidly until I left 

El-Mas'udi says,, Abu Zai'd el-Hasan (Moham- 
med) Ben Yezid, of Siraf, gave me an account 
of Ibn Habbar at el-Basrah, where he was settled 
after he had left Siraf. This was in 303 A.H. 
Abu Zaid el-Hasan was the nephew of Abu Yezid 
(Zaid), Mohammed Ben Mozdin (^j-^v* G^U), 
Ben Sasiat CLjU*- U (jU UA*J), the governor of 
Siraf; he was a man of much information and intel- 
ligence, and he told me that he had asked this 
Koraishite, Ibn Habbar, respecting the town of 


Hamdan ^Ux*-; its description, extent, &c.; and 
he told me how large it was, the number of inhabi- 
tants, and that it was divided into two parts, which 

z 2 


were separated by a long, wide, and straight road. 
The king, his vizier, the kadhi of the kadhis, the 
garrison, the eunuchs of the king, and all his house- 
hold, reside on the right side, which is towards the 
east: from this part of the town the lower class and 
markets are excluded. Through the streets run 
canals, and they are shaded by trees, which are 
symmetrically planted, and the houses are spacious 
and magnificent. On the left side, which is 
towards the west, are the tradespeople, the stores 
for provisions, and the markets. In the morning 
I saw the stewards of the king, his household, the 
slave boys of his leaders and their guardians, going on 
foot and horseback to the quarter of the town where 
the markets and tradespeople are ; they provided 
themselves there with necessaries, and returned. 
None went again at any other time to that quarter 
before the next morning, for in their own quarter 
there is every pleasure., beautiful lakes and canals, 
but no palms ; for palms do not grow in China. 

The Chinese are the most clever people on 
earth : they have extraordinary skill in plastic and 
other arts, so that no other nation can be compared 
with them in any kind of workmanship. The court 
awards prizes for well made works, in order to pro- 
mote them ; and the king orders them to be shown 
in a public exhibition in his palace for one whole 
year (before the prize is given) ; and if nobody can 
discover a fault during this time, in a piece of art 


exhibited there, the prize is awarded, and it is put 
into the collection of arts; bat, if there be found any 
imperfection, it is turned out, and no reward is 
given. A man had made an ear of corn on which a 
sparrow was sitting, and this was considered for 
some time as a prize piece: a humpbacked man 
saw it, and noticed that there was a fault in it. 
''Where?" he was asked. "Everybody knows," 
replied the humpbacked, " that if a sparrow sits on 
an ear it bends; the artist, however, has made it 
upright, although the sparrow sits on it: this is a 
fault." The judgment of the humpbacked man was 
found correct, and the artist was not rewarded. The 
object in acting thus is to stimulate artists to exert 
themselves, and to be more careful and considerate 
in what they do. 

China is rich in remarkable objects, and there 
are many interesting accounts of the inhabitants, of 
which we will give an abstract in the progress of this 
work. We have related them all in our books, the 
Akhbar-ez-zeman and the Kitab el-ausat; in the 
latter we give such accounts as are omitted in the 
Akhbar-ez-zeman ; and in this book we relate some 
facts which are wanting in both those works. 



A comprehensive view of the accounts of the seas, of 
their wonders, and of the nations who live in 
islands, or on the coast. The relative position and 
dignity of various kings. The history of Spain 
and other countries. The places and substances 
which yield perfumes. The various kinds of 

IN the preceding pages of this work we h^ve given 
a general account of the seas, both those which are 
in communication with each other, and those which 
are separated. Here we will recapitulate all the 
accounts which we possess, connected with the Abys- 
sinian sea, speaking, at the same time, of the kings 
and kingdoms situated on this sea ; also of their 
respective position, and other matters of interest. 

We repeat that the seas of China, India, Faris, 
and Yemen, are connected, and form only one 
mass of water. The difference of the currents 
and height of the water is to be attributed to 
the direction of the winds, the season when 
they rise, and other causes. The Persian sea is 
most stormy, and most dangerous for navigation, at 


the time when the Indian sea is quiet; and, again, 
the Persian sea is quiet when the sea of India is 
boisterous, stormy, dark, and rough. The sea of 
Paris begins to be stormy when the sun enters into 
the sign Virgo, about the time of the autumnal 
equinox; it continues so, and storms increase every 
day, until the sun comes into the sign Pisces : it is 
roughest at the end of autumn, when the sun is in 
the sign Sagittarius: then it becomes more quiet 
until the sun enters again into Virgo, and it is most 
quiet at the end of spring, when the sun is in 
Gemini. The Indian Sea is stormy till the sun 
enters into the sign Virgo: then begins the navi- 
gation on it; for it is easiest when the sun is in 
Sagittarius. They sail all the year round on the 
Persian Sea, from 'Oman to Siraf, which is a dis- 
tance of one hundred and sixty farsangs, and from 
Siraf to el-Basrah, which is a voyage of one hun- 
dred and forty farsangs. But at this time it is not 
navigable, excepting in the two mentioned routes, 
or to neighbouring harbours. 

Abu Ma'sher yb** ^\ y the astrologer, confirms, 
in his " Great Introduction to Astronomy" J^j^U 
p-s=vxM ^ $ j**ffJ> what we have said, that the 
stormy and quiet seasons on these seas begin when the 
sun is in the above-mentioned signs of the zodiac ; 
and he relates further, that it is impossible to sail from 
'Oman on the sea of India in the Tirmah (June), 


except with first-rate* vessels and light cargoes. 
These vessels are called et-Tirmahians SUALojAxM. 
In India is at that time winter f \S~\\ ^ jT,U*j, 
and the rainy season ; for (the two Syriac months 
called) Kanun and the month Shobat, (December, 
January, and February,) are their summer months : 
our winter being their summer, whilst the month 
Taimis (July) and Ab (August), which are sum- 
mer months with us, are their winter. This change 
of seasons is the case in all the towns of India, es- 
Sind, and the neighbouring countries, through the 
whole extent of this sea. From this circumstance, 
that their winter is in our summer, the saying has 


its origin *xx$M ^L ^**j (_o^; that is to say, 
" he wintered in India." This is owing to the dif- 
ference of the distance from the sun. 

Pearl fishing, in the sea of Faris, is carried on 
from the beginning of Nisan (April) to the end of 
Ailul (October) ; but there is no pearl fishing from 
Ailul to Nisan. The places where pearls are found 
in this sea have been named in the preceding pages 
of this book. There do not exist pearls in any 
other but the Abyssinian sea, near the coast of 
the countries of Kharak J^U., Kotr^y?, 'Oman j,l$, 
Serendib ^jjo^, and other places. In our former 

* The word which I render first-rate vessels is doubtful in 
all MS S. 


works we have mentioned how the pearls grow, and 
the various opinions on this subject. ; for some 
believe that they are produced by rain, whilst others 
maintain that their formation is independent of rain ; 
we have described the pearls, both the old (fine) and 
the new ones, which are called ^Lsxjl, but gene- 
rally known under the name of J^X^!. The flesh 
and grease which are in mother of pearl are of an 
animal which has the anxiety of a mother for the 
pearls that are in it, at the approaching of the 
divers*. We have given a description of pearl 
fishing. The divers must not eat any other food 
but fish, dates, or what is prepared of grain 
c>\j$\ : their ears are split, to give a passage to the 
breath (through the Eustachian tube), instead of 
breathing through the nostrils ; for they put a little 
ball of tortoise-shell into the nostrils : [the tortoise 
*UJ.*vJJ is a kind of marine animal, and of its shells 
combs and other instruments are made, instead of 
using wood:] and they put cotton with a little oil 
into their ears ; and, when they walk at the bottom 

^c 21 jU cy^f. This is the reading of all the MSS., 
and still I cannot help thinking that it is a corruption instead of 

Xs. 2jJlf * " in which the pearls rest like the foetus in the 
womb of the mother." 


of the sea, they let the oil ascend, to receive by this 
means a glimpse of light. Their feet and legs are 
blackened with soot ; for the marine animals of which 
divers are afraid are shy of soot. Their voice 
(from the bottom of the sea) sounds like the barking 
of dogs. The sound passes through the water till it 
reaches the ears. In our former works we have 
given a full account of many curious matters con- 
nected with divers, pearl-fishing, the pearls, and the 
animals that produce them; also of the descriptions, 
marks, prices, size, and weight of pearls. 

This sea begins from el-Basrah and el-Obollah, 
and extends along el-Bahrain from the sea-marks 
of el- Basrah. Then comes the sea of Ladiwa (of 
the Lacadives) <s^ j^z G&J^ j-^v) : on this sea 
Safura ^yL*>, Subarah *j\~>f~>, Tanah lj', Sindabur 
^yjjsx*-, Kanbayat x>.UxT, and other places of India 
and es-Sind, are situated. Then comes the sea of 
Horkand *xiT^ ^^sr ; then the sea of Kilah x^ j^s:, 
which is also spelt Kolah *XT, and of the islands ; 
then the sea of Kardebinj gv*V >*; (^O^ >=0 > 
then the sea of es-Sinf < i^aJl, from which the 
Sinfi aloes has its name; for it comes from thence; 
then the sea of China, which is the sea of Saihu jssyo 
(i^s^ or ^.=?U>) ; and there is no sea beyond it. 

We have said that the Persian Gulf begins from 
the sea-marks of el-Basrah, and a place called el- 
Kankela ^H *&J or jOXl\. There are 


marks of wood erected in the sea, to insure the 
navigation to 'Oman, which is a distance of three 
hundred farsangs. On the coast of this sea are 
Faris and el -Bahrain. From 'Oman, the capital of 
which is Sohar*, which the Persians call Maztin 

CD^r* CcL.vtrO ? to el-Maskat LjuJLI, which is a 
village where the sailors take in water from the 
fresh- water wells which are there, are fifty farsangs. 
From Mask at to the promontory of el-Jomjomah 
are also fifty farsangs. This is the limit of the sea 
of Faris, the whole length of which is four hundred 
farsangs. This is the division recognized by 

The promontory of el-Jomjomah *^sx*iJ ^j 
is a mountain, which stands in connection with (the 
deserts of) esh-Shihr^JI and el- Ahkaf, in Yemen. 
No one knows to what distance the sand extends 
under the water : but it is most copious under the 
promontory of el-Jomjomah. There are, as we 
have said, mountains in the sea, under water, like 
those on the land; and they are called in the 
Mediterranean sofalah XJUuJi. Such a sofalah is in 
a place which is known by the name of coast of 
Salukiyat LJ^L*, in the Byzantine empire: it 
extends under water nearly as far as the Isle of 
Cyprus, and the greater part of the shipwrecks in the 

* The MS. bears here^l*c\^, as in page 262, supra. 


Mediterranean happen there. The sailors have, in 
every sea, peculiar expressions by which they un- 
derstand each other. 

From the promontory of el-Jomjomah, the ves- 
sels enter, from the sea of Faris, into the second 
sea, which has the name Ladiwa <s^y . Its depth 
is unfathomable, its extent cannot be measured, 
and the mass of water is beyond calculation. Many 
sailors believe that no description can comprehend 
all its parts, it being of an almost endless extent, 
as we have already stated. The vessels cross it in 
two or three months, or in one month, as they have 
the wind. On the side of this sea extend the sea 
and country of the Zanj. 

This sea has not much ambergris ; for it is 
mostly thrown on to the coast of the Zanj, and of 
esh-Shihr, in Arabia. 

The inhabitants of esh-Shihr are of the tribe of 
Kodha'ah Ben Malik Ben Himyar Jju ^ XeLa* 
j*&* CU^' anc ^ f t ner Arabic tribes. The inha- 
bitants of Arabic origin in this country, which is 
also known under the name of el-Mahrah 2 
are called the people of hair and body ^yc 
~*Jjj. Their language differs from pure Arabic : 
the difference consists in using shin instead of Kaf 
uJKM ; for instance, (jti^J^j J ClAS U*3 yiA Ju& 
<s 30 i ^xsr" ^ which is the same as 
t Jj LlJL J 


cf<SJJJ The same is the case in other 
phrases. They are a poor and needy people : 
they have a sort of camel called Mahri camel <-**? 
: it goes as fast as the Bejawi camel t-r^srW 
.=svJJ, or even faster, as some think. On these 
they ride along their coast ; and when the camel 
comes to ambergris, which has been thrown out by 
the sea, it kneels down ; for it is trained and 
taught to do so : thus the rider can pick it up. 
The ambergris, which is found on this coast, and 
on the islands and coast of ez-Zanj, is the best : it 
is round, of a blue colour, and is of the size of an 
ostrich's egg, or smaller. There is a sort of amber- 
gris which is brought on shore by a fish, called 
whale JtjSN, of which we have spoken. When the 
sea is stormy, pieces of ambergris are thrown up 
from the bottom of the sea, as big as mountains, or 
smaller, as we have described. This fish devours 
the ambergris, which causes its death; and it floats 
on the surface of the water. When people of ez- 
Zanj, or others, observe the whale, they throw 
hooks and ropes on it from their boats, open its 
belly, and take the ambergris. The ambergris 
found in the belly of the fish has a foetid smell, and 
is known to the perfumers of el-'Irak and Faris 

* " How dost thou mean what thou hast said to me? I have told 
thee to put what I have with me to what thou hast with thee." 


under the name of el-mand *x;U ; but that which is 
found in the back of the fish is delicious and exqui- 
site. Its quality depends on the length of the 
time which it has been in the entrails of the fish. 

Between the third sea, which is the sea of 
Horkand^, and the second, which is the sea Ladiwa, 
are many islands ; and they form the division 
between these two seas. Some say there are about 
two thousand, but, in fact, there are no more than 
one thousand and nine hundred, every of one which is 
cultivated. All these islands are ruled by a woman, 
for it is an ancient habit with them not to have a 
man as sovereign. 

These islands yield much ambergris, which is 
thrown on shore by the sea. It is sometimes the 
size of the largest rocks. I have learned from 
several sailors of Siraf and 'Oman, when I visited 
those two towns, and from others who used to sail 
to these islands, that the ambergris grows in the 
bottom of the sea, and is of various kinds, as there 
are various sorts of Agalloche : it is white, black, 
spongy, and the like, and, when the sea is strong, 
it throws up rocks and stones, and with them 

The inhabitants of these islands are united 

* Compare Renaudot's Ancient Accounts of China, from page 
1 to page 8. 


under one government ; they are very numerous, 
and have immense armies. The distance from 
one island to another is one mile, or one, two, 
or three farsangs. Their palm tree is the cocoa- 
nut palm j^^UJJjJsr, but they have no date palms. 
Persons who understand the generation (physiology) 
of animals, and the vegetation of plants, believe 
that the cocoa-nut tree is originally the same as the 
wild palm tree, which yields the fruit called mokl 
JJiU J^?> hut that the soil of India impressed its own 
character on it, when it was transplanted, and that 
it changed it into the cocoa-nut palm. We entered 
in our work called ^.^UKJ! ciA^l^' "axioms of 
experience," upon the influence which the climate 
and air of every part of the globe exercise on the 
nature of men and animals, and vegetation. Thus, 
it is to be ascribed to the influence of the climate 
that the Turks have peculiar features, and small 
eyes ; and even their camels bear the stamp of the 
climate : their legs are short, their neck thick, and 
their hair white. The country of Yajuj and Majuj 
(Gog and Magog) partakes of the same character. 
There could be brought forward many other ex- 
amples, which have been pointed out by persons 
who possess a knowledge of the races that inhabit 
the east and west, as we have described. 

No other island of the sea can boast of such 
skilful artisans as the inhabitants of this group, 


in all arts and trades, as in making cloth, instru- 
ments, and so forth. 

The treasures of this country consist of shells, 
(concha veneris) *. These shells form the habi- 
tation of certain animals; and, when there is no 
money in the public treasury, the inhabitants receive 
orders to cut branches of the cocoa-nut tree, and to 
throw them on the water, with the leaves. These 
animals fasten on the branches, and are thus 
gathered ; then they are spread upon the sand 
on the beach, and, as the animal perishes in the sun, 
the shell remains empty. So they fill the public 
treasury. These islands have, together, the name 
of ez-Zanjat >Lsx>- Jl*, and they export the great- 
est quantity of cocoa-nuts J*^jUM yt>^ g\^\. The 
most important of these islands is Serendib < v.*x^ 
(Ceylon). At a distance of about a thousand farsangs 
from Serendib is another archipelago, called er- 
Ramin (^ycl^l: these islands are cultivated, have 
many gold mines, and are governed by kings. In 
the same sea is Fansur jy^xi, whence the Fansuri 
camphor has its name. In years in which hurricanes, 
storms, inundations, and earthquakes are frequent, 
camphor is most abundant, and when these cala- 
mities are of less frequency, camphor is scarce. 

En-Nowairi(MS. of Leyden, p. 26,) writes, after Benel-Jahit, 




In almost all the islands which we have named 
they eat cocoa-nuts: from these islands, bokkam (a 
dye similar to our Brazil wood) fjulf and ruscus* 
&[)j$L\ are exported; they have also gold and 
elephants. Some of the inhabitants are cannibals. 
This archipelago stands in connection with the 
islands of el-Jebalus ^Litf, which have a popu- 
lation of a very singular appearance. They bring 
in boats ambergris, betel, and other articles, to 
the vessels which pass them, to exchange these 
articles for iron and some clothes. They do not 
employ money. Next to them are islands called 
Andaman e U!*xJ\ (^UljJl), which are inhabited by 
Negroes of strange appearance and look. Their 
hair is woolly, and each of their feet is larger than 

* The Haisran is identified with the t$\J(j*J in the MS. 
1075, anc. fonds of the Royal Library at Paris, and Laguna 
informs us, in his excellent notes to his Spanish Translation of 
Dioscoridcs (Valencia, 1695, p. 100), that it is the ruscus; but 
he, as well as Banqueri (Libro de Agricultural leave it uncertain 
what species of ruscus. In the said MS. of Paris, the Haisran 
is thus described: "It is imported to us from China; it has the 
form of ropes a finger thick, which are used for various domestic 
purposes. They are particularly useful for hanging cloth on them, 
for they do not make marks. Some say they are the branches of 
some shrub; others believe that they are roots." En-Nowa'iri 
informs us, that the sceptre of the khalif was of this wood. 

f En-Nowairi writes, jj^U^J and ^Sl&J Langalus; 
and in the MS. of the British Museum No. 7496, their name r 
written ^^jKj'U 

2 A 


one cubit. They have no vessels, and, if a ship- 
wrecked sailor is thrown on their shore, they devour 
him. They do the same with the crew of vessels if 
they land there. 

I have been told by many sailors, that they have 
sometimes seen a small strip of white cloud over this 
sea, from which a long white tongue comes forth 
stretching down to the sea; and, when it reaches the 
water, the sea rises towards it in a terrible hurricane, 
which destroys everything that may come within its 
reach, and it is followed by a heavy shower. 

The fourth sea is that of Kilah Bar JL>**M 
as we have said. It has also the name of the Sea 
of Kolah XK ^^ (xX/J"). The water in this sea is 
shallow; the shallower a sea is, the more frequent 
are accidents, and the greater is the danger. In 
this sea are many islands and sedadi <s ^U*? (<s j\j*> 
sing. tf^*?). This word is a plural of sadi cfJ^>; so 
the sailors call a land between two straits, if they 
have to pass it. Several islands and mountains of 
this sea are worth notice; but our object is to give 
general ideas, and not to enter into details. 

The fifth sea, which is known under the name 
of Kerda'* gijT, is equally shallow, and full of moun- 
tains and islands, from which the camphor and the 
essential oil of camphor ^ytffl *U are procured. 
Camphor has little essential oil,, but much vehicle, 
from which it can hardly be extracted. 

* Page 346 supra, this sea has the name of Kardebinj. 


These islands are inhabited by various nations. 
One race is called el-Maht i^sswM (_~*asJt) ; they 
have crisp hair and strange features. They come 
in boats to the vessels which pass by, and throw a 
sort of poisoned arrow. Beyond these people, and 
between the country of Kolah, are mines of white 
lead (tin), and mountains rich in silver, which con- 
tain also gold and lead; but it cannot be separated. 

Next follows the sea of es-Sinf ( i;>^!\^^:, 
according to the division which we have just made. 
In this sea are the dominions of the Maharaj, the 
king of the islands. The population and number of 
the troops of his kingdom cannot be counted ; and 
the islands under his sceptre are so numerous, that 
the most fast sailing vessel is not able to go round 
them in two years. This king is in possession of 
several kinds of spices <5o^W and perfumes ; and no 
kingdom has more natural resources, nor more 
articles for exportation, than this. Among these 
are camphor, aloes, gillyflowers, sandal-wood, betel- 
nuts, mace, cardamoms, cubebs, and the like. The 
limits of this sea, which extends from these islands 
towards the sea of China, are not known, and its 
extent is unexplored. 

In some parts of this island are high mountains, 
with a dense population, who have slit ears, and a 
white complexion. Their faces look like a piece of 
a hammered shield ; they wear their hair long, as 
we (the Mohammedans) wear our beards. From 
these mountains issues fire, by day and night. By 


day it has a dark appearance, and at night it 
shines red. It rises to such a height, that it reaches 
the regions of the heaven (i.e. it ascends above the 
atmosphere). The explosion is accompanied with 
a noise like the loudest thunder. Sometimes a 
strange sound proceeds from these volcanos, which 
is indicative that their king will die ; and, if the 
sound is lower, it foretells the death of one of their 
chiefs. They know the meaning of these sounds, 
by long habit and experience. This is one of the 
great chimneys (craters) of the earth. At no great 
distance is another island, from which, constantly, 
the sound of drums, lutes, fifes, and other musical 
instruments, and the noise of dancing, and various 
amusements, are heard. Sailors, who have passed 
this place, believe that the Dajjal (Antichrist) 
occupies this island. 

To the dominions of the Maharaj belongs Sarirah 
*jjj.~>, the extent of which is estimated at four 
hundred farsangs. The whole island is well culti- 
vated. He is also in possession of the island of 
ez-Zanij, er-Ramni tfUij-H, and many other islands 
which are not known to us. The Maharaj is the 
lord of the sixth sea, which is the sea of es-Sinf 

The seventh sea is the sea of China 
which is also called the sea of Saihu * 

* One MS. reads >ss\**j and another 


this is a stormy and dangerous sea, and there is a 
great deal of <-*ssd\; this word means a great raging 


on the sea jssd\ ^ X^xM 'i&A\ <-*sd\ j>+JiSj, and 
is one of the maritime terms which are common 
among the sailors of every sea. In this sea are 
many mountains, between which the vessels must 

When a great storm comes on, black figures 
rise from the water, about four or five spans long, 
and they look like little Abyssinians. They mount 
on the vessels; but, however numerous they may 
be, they do no harm. When sailors observe them, 
they are sure that a storm is near ; for their ap- 
pearance is a certain sign of a gale. They prepare 
themselves for the storm, which will either be their 
ruin, or they will be saved from it. Those who are 
to be saved frequently observe something like a 
luminous bird at the top of the mast JJ<xH. The 
sailors of the sea of China, and of the whole Abys- 
sinian sea, call the mast $3M (jj^xJ!); and the 
sailors of the Mediterranean call it <^jl^\. This 
appearance on the top of the mast is of such 
brightness that the eye cannot behold it, nor can 
they make out what it is. The moment it appears 
the sea becomes quiet, the gale lulls, and the 
waves subside. Then this brightness vanishes, 
and no one can perceive how it comes, or how 
it disappears. It is the sign of safety, and the 
assurance that they have escaped. What we have 


related is confirmed by the sailors and merchants 
of el-Basrah, 'Oman, Siraf, and others, who have 
navigated this sea ; and, however marvellous it 
sounds, it may be true that God sends such a 
sign ; for his servants are saved, through his 
power, from the dangers of the sea, and guided in 
their voyage. 

In this sea is a sort of crab, of the length of 
one cubit, or a span, more or less : if it comes forth 
from the sea in rapid motion, and goes on shore, it 
loses the qualities of an animal, and is petrified. 
This stone forms an ingredient in the collyria, and, 
generally, in medicines for the eye. It is, therefore, 
well known. There are wonderful accounts reported 
respecting the sea of China, and those which are in 
connection with it. We refer the reader to our 
books on these subjects, which we have frequently 
had occasion to bring under his notice. 

Beyond the coast of China is no other kingdom 
known or described, excepting the country of es- 

Sabal y^\ (es-Sila?), and the islands which 
belong to it. No one from el-Irak, or any other 
place of the West, frequents this country. The 
air of this country is wholesome, the water 
good, the soil fertile, and the precious stones are 
brilliant and genuine : hence, the country is rich ; 
and it seldom happens that any of the inhabitants 
leave their native soil. They are allies of the 
Chinese, and the kings of both countries constantly 
exchange presents. 


Some say they are descendants of 'Abur, who 
settled there in the same way as the Chinese took 
possession of their country. 

In China are many rivers, which may be com- 
pared with the Tigris and Euphrates. They come 
from the country of the Turks, et-Tubbet, and of the 
Soghd JouaJi. The Soghd live between Bokhara and 
Samarkand. In their country is the mountain en- 
Nushadir* jiliytfl (the mountain of sal-ammoniac), 
from which fire rises in summer at night, which may 
be seen at a distance of nearly one hundred farsangs ; 
and by day smoke issues, which is so dense that 
the rays of the sun cannot penetrate through it. 
This mountain yields sal-ammoniac ^sliy . Tra- 
vellers in summer take their road from Khorasan to 
China by this mountain; for there is a valley 
through it, which is forty or fifty miles long. At 
the entrance of the valley wait some men who offer 
themselves to carry the baggage, if they are well 
paid. They use sticks to drive the passengers on 
their journey; for any stoppage or rest would be 
fatal to the traveller, in consequence of the irritation 
which the ammoniacal vapours of this valley pro- 
duce on the brain, and on account of the heat. The 
way becomes more and more narrow till the travellers 

* This volcano has been introduced to the notice of Europe by 
Klaproth, Abel Remusat, and Humboldt. 


come to the end of their perilous passage. Here 
are pits with water, in which they throw themselves, 
to obtain relief from the depressing influence of the 
vapours of sal-ammoniac, and of the heat of the air. 
No animal passes through the valley in summer, nor 
anybody who is excited by fanaticism*. The sal 
ammoniac throws out flames in summer. In winter 
much snow and rain fall, which extinguish the 
heat and flames: at that time men and animals can 
pass it without inconvenience. When travellers 
arrive in the Chinese. territories,, they are beaten as 
in passing (to counteract the congestion of blood in 
the brain). The distance from Khorasan to China, 
through the pass just mentioned, is about forty days' 
journey; partly through steppes, solitudes, and 
deserts. The other road, which is used for animals, 
is about four months' journey ; but on that the tra- 
veller enjoys the protection of several Turkish tribes. 
I have seen a very intelligent and agreeable man 

* c^sfi ^ \* gjyt Jfo JUo y>: literally, "No 
caller (or one who makes proselytes,) nor one who answers, (or 
a proselyte,) passes this valley." I doubt whether the meaning 
which I have given to this passage in the text is correct ; but I do 
not know the true sense. Perhaps the author means to say one 
must not speak; but why should he use such an artificial expres- 
sion ? Moreover, if he meant to circumscribe the word speak, by 
saying the traveller must neither ask nor answer, he would have 

used JoUj, and not cb 


at Balkh, who had made the journey to China, 
several times ; but he had never been at sea. I have 
seen many other persons who went from the country 
of the Soghd, through the mountains of en-Nushadir, 
to et-Tubbet and China. Khorasan is contiguous 
to India, and es-Sind, in the direction of el- 
Mansurah and el-Multan. The same caravan 
goes from es-Sind to Khorasan, and the caravans of 
India go in the same manner into this country, as 
far as Zabolistan j,UuJJj, which has the name of 
Fairuz Ibn KaTk JC/J" ^.jj\ jjj*- This is an ex- 
tensive country: it has many astonishingly strong 
castles, and is densely inhabited by nations of 
different tongues. Historians do not agree respect- 
ing their origin. Some trace their descent from 
Yafeth Ben Nuh, and others connect them with the 
first Persians, giving a long genealogy. 

The country of et-Tubbet (Tibet) is separated 
and distinct from China. The rulers of et-Tubbet 
are the Himyarites, who were led there by one of 
the Tobba's, as we shall relate in the history of 
Yemen, to which we shall devote some of the 
following pages of this book ; and it is to be found 
in our Akhbar ez-zeman. The population of et- 
Tubbet consists partly of nomades, and partly of 
settled inhabitants. The wandering Tibetans are 
of Turkish origin, and so numerous that they 
cannot be counted. They yield to no nomadic nation 
of the Turks, and are respected by other Turkish 


hordes ; for in ancient times the king (khdkan) 
was of their horde ; and it is generally believed, 
among all Turks, that they will again obtain the 
royal power. 

The country of et-Tubbet has some peculiarities 
in its air, water, soil, plains, and mountains, which 
deserve notice. There, man lives gay and full of 
cheerfulness, which is neither interrupted by sor- 
rows, nor cares, nor by reflection. The varieties 
of fruits, flowers, meadows, and rivers, of this 
country, are innumerable. The nature of this 
country predisposes men and animals to be light- 
hearted and cheerful ; you will not even see old 
men or old women dull ; but old and young are 
equally gay. This cheerfulness, joviality, and gaiety, 
lead them to indulge in music and dancing; and 
it goes so far, that the relations of persons who die 
do not feel such deep sorrow as other people feel 
at the loss of a beloved individual, or in the absence 
of one to whom they are attached ; but, notwith- 
standing this levity, they are affectionate to each 

This country has the name of Thobbet after 
those Himyarites who had settled LH^xS (thobbit) 
there. This is expressed in the poem of Di 'bil 
Ben 'All el-Khoza'i ^r^kvM ^c ^j J^c^, in which 
he lowers the Komait il^&i, boasting of the superi- 
ority of the Kahtan tribes above the Nizar^J tribes. 


" They have put an inscription on the gate of 
Merw and on the gate of China. Both these are 
our inscriptions. They have named Samarkand 
after (their king) Shamir, and they have colonized 

We shall relate, in the chapter on the history of 
the kings of Yemen, the principal events in the 
history of the kings of et-Tubbet, and of those who 
made (military) excursions. Et-Tubbet borders on 
one side on China, and on the other side on India, 
Khorasan, and the Turkish steppes. It comprises 
extensive cultivated lands and many towns, some 
of which are fortified. In ancient times, they gave 
to their kings the title Tobba 5 , in imitation of the 
title of the king of Yemen. But, as time changes 
every thing, the Himyaritic language was lost 
amongst them, and exchanged for a language which 
is similar to those of the neighbouring countries 
and nations ; and they called their king Khakan 

The Tubbetan and Chinese musk comes from 
contiguous countries, in which the musk deer U& 
jCJLI lives; and the superiority of the Tubbetan 
musk over the Chinese musk depends on two causes : 
the musk deer of et-Tubbet lives upon spikenard 
and all sorts of aromatic herbs, whilst the Chinese 
musk deer has none of those odoriferous plants; 
further, the Tubbetans leave the musk in the blad- 
der, as it is in its natural state, and the Chinese take it 


out from the bladder, and adulterate it with blood 
and other sophistications. Besides, the Chinese 
musk is imported to us by sea, and is thus exposed 
to moisture and different air. When the Chinese 
have spoiled their musk by adulteration, they put it 
into pots and bottles, which they carefully close, and, 
in this state, it is imported into the Moslim territory 
by the seaports of 'Oman, Paris, el-Irak, and other 
large towns*. 

The musk which the zebif yields, immediately 
after it has come to maturity, is the best and most 
exquisite, such as the musk of et-Tubbet is. There 
is no difference between the musk gazelles J^JU ^j* 
and the common gazelles ^>*> as to form, appear- 
ance, colour, or horns; the sole difference that 
exists is, that they have canine teeth, resembling 
the projecting teeth of the elephant. The musk 
deer has two such teeth projecting from the jaw, 
which are very strong, white, and straight, and about 

* En-Nowairi gives some precious details respecting the trade 
of perfumes, which was the most considerable branch of foreign 
commerce under the Abbasides. He confirms the statement of 
our author, saying that the musk of et-Tubbet and of China are 
originally of the same quality ; but that the Tubbetan musk is 
imported by land ^liJ\ .Jks. through Khorasan, and preserves 
its fragrancy; whilst the Chinese musk, although it comes origin- 
ally from Tubbet, is brought from Canton (Khaniku) by sea, and 
loses its strength. 

f Compare Ancient Accounts of India and China, p. 71. 


one span long, more or less. The Chinese and Tub- 
betans set nooses, nets, and traps, to catch the 
musk deer ; sometimes they shoot them with arrows. 
They pull them down and cut out the musk bladder. 
The blood in the navel has a foetid smell, and, as 
long as it is fresh, it has not only no fragrance, but 
it is very offensive. After it has been kept for some 
time, it loses that offensive smell, and it becomes, 
under the influence of air, musk. It undergoes 
exactly the same process as fruits, if they have been 
taken from the tree before they have their flavour. 
The best musk is that which is found in the navel 
of the animal, and matured in the bladder till it has 
its fragrancy. The blood is accumulated in the 
navel of the animal, and, when its particles have 
undergone a change there, it receives an agreeable 
smell. The animal, feeling some inconvenience, 
rubs its navel on rocks and stones which are 
warmed by the sun, for this excites a pleasing 
sensation. By this means (this changed blood) is 
discharged, and adheres to the stones. The sen- 
sation may be compared to the relief felt if a 
tumour or boil, in which much matter has been 
collected, is discharged. When the musk bladder 
which is the Persian word for navel]* is 

*~> i>^ Sj.* jJu ^ X4-1J. The word is 

written &jU in Persian, and does not mean " navel," generally, 
but, as in Arabic, especially, " the navel bag of a musk goat." 


emptied of its contents, it cicatrizes, and the blood 
accumulates there a second time, as in the first 
instance. The Tubbetans go out to the rocks 
and mountains, and there they find the blood con- 
gealed on the stones, which has been matured by 
nature in the animal, and dried by the sun, after it 
has been exposed to its influence. This is the 
most exquisite musk, and is, in gathering, put into 
the musk bladders which have been taken from 
hunted deer, and brought for the purpose to the 
spot where the musk is gathered. This is the musk 
used by the Tubbetan princes, and which they send 
as presents to each other; but it is seldom exported 
from their country. There are many towns in et- 
Tubbet, and the musk is called after the town or 
district from whence it comes. 

The kings of China, of the Turks, of India, of 
the Zanj, and all other kings of the earth, looked up 
to the king of the climate (kishwar) of Babel 
with great respect; for he is the first king on earth, 
and occupies the same position with respect to 
others as the moon* with respect to the stars. For 
his country is the noblest and most populous : he is 
the richest of all sovereigns ; he is most favoured by 
nature ; and he has a powerful and firm government. 
This was the case in ancient times ; but now, [in 

One copy reads, in the margin, as a correction, " the sun. 1 


332 A.H.,] this description does not at all agree with 
the sovereign of this country. The ancient kings of 
Babel had the title of Shahan Shah ali^UU, which 
means the King of Kings. He has the same position 
with regard to the rest of the world as the heart in 
the body, and the buckle in a necklace. Next ranks 
the king of India, who is the king of wisdom and 
of elephants ; for it was acknowledged amongst the 
Khosraws that wisdom comes from India. After 
the king of India ranks the king of China, who is 
the king of wise government, good institutions, and 
perfection in arts. No king on earth pays more 
attention to internal government than the king of 
China, nor keeps any other the citizens, soldiers, and 
persons in office, better under control. His people 
are brave, strong, and powerful. He is able to defend 
his country with well equipped armies. His troops 
receive pay, as it was the case under the kings of 
Babel. The first rank after the king of China is 
claimed by the king of the Turks ; who resides in 
the city of Kofristan* ^U*- jjLf, and rules over the 
Turkish nation called Taghizghiz. He is called the 
king of lions (tigers) and of horses ; for there is no 
nation on earth braver, nor more lion (tiger) -like in 
shedding blood, than his subjects; nor has any 
country greater abundance of horses than this. His 

* One copy reads Kushan j^li 


country is between China and the steppes of Kho- 
rasan. The title of this monarch is Irkhan W U^ 5 
(the Khan of Men). The Turks have several kings, 
who rule over different hordes, and are not under 
submission to the irkhan; but there is no other 
Turkish king who excels him. The Byzantine king, 
who follows next, is named the King of Men ; for 
there are no men on earth better formed than his 
subjects. This gradation was recognized in ancient 
times ; but subsequently the kings of the earth 
have become more equal in their positions. A 
man who takes a very correct view of the history of 
the world, describes thus, in some poem, the 
kings of the world : 

" There are two famous palaces on earth, the 
Iwan (of the Khosraws, at Ctesiphon), and the 
Ghomdan (of the kings of Yemen, at San'a); and 
there are only two great royal families, the Sasa- 
nians and Kahtanites. Faris is, in preference, 
called the earth, and Babil the climate (or Kishwar). 
The site of the Islam is Mekka, and Khorasan 
is the world. The two royal cities, Bokhara and 
Balkh, form the two corners (of Khorasan), and 
render it formidable. El-Bailakan ^liX/^! and 
Taberistan are its frontiers ; er-Rai is its Sharwan 
(fortified frontier pass). In society some men are 
distinguished by higher rank, as the Marzoban (in 
the Persian empire),, the Batrick (or Patrician, 


amongst the Romans), and the Tarkhan*. The 
title of the Persian king is Kisra; the Romans call 
their monarch Caesar; the Abyssinians Nejashi; 
and the Turks Khakanf." 

The king of Sicily XJJus and Afrikiyah, in the 
Maghrib, had, before the Islam, the title Jirjis 
U^AJS*^. (George) ; and the king of Spain had the 
name Lodrik c JijjM (Roderic) , which was common 
to all the kings of Spain. The inhabitants of this 
country are said to belong to the nation of el-Ishban 

* Tarkhan is the title of the Tatar Magnates. A Tarkan had 
the right to go to court whenever he pleased, and to commit nine 
crimes without being subject to the laws. These privileges were 
inherited through nine generations. The Hungarians, who are 
Tatars, have preserved and extended these humane institutions. 
A Hungarian Magnate may commit as many crimes as he chooses; 
he is never checked by the court of Vienna, except if he should 
dare to wish to better the condition of his country; and his 
privileges are inherited by his whole posterity without end. 

2 B 


j,U-&yJ (Hispani), who are descen dents of Yafeth 
Ben Nuh, and are spread over this country. But 
the more generally received opinion amongst the 
Moslims in Spain is, that Lodrik (Roderic) was of 
the Galician nation, who are a French race. He 
was the last sovereign; and was killed by Tank 
L^jVjUs, the freed slave of Musa Ben Nosair, when 
he conquered Spain and entered Tolaitilah *XkJik 
(Toledo), which was the metropolis and the residence 
of the king. Through this city runs a large river, 
which has the name Taj ah* <^lj' (Tagus). It comes 
from the country of the Galiciansf Xi'^i^ and the 
Basques;};. They are a great nation, ruled by a 
king who goes as frequently to war with the Mos- 
lims in Spain, as the Galicians and the French 
saj>jj^i. This river, (the Tagus,) falls into the 
Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the most celebrated 
rivers in the world: in the middle of its course it 
passes the town of Toledo. Over the Tagus goes 
the arched bridge es-Saif i^ix**!! ^ko, which was 
constructed by ancient kings ; it is one of the 

* Almost all MSS. read the name of this river Abirah SJAO!, 
and it is evident from what follows, that our author did not suffi- 
ciently distingTiish between the Tagus and the Ebro. 

H- This is the plural of <JiX:s, as it has been said in the note 
to page 177 supra. The Arabic name of the country is Jiilikiyah 

All MSS. read &\\ instead 


most remarkable buildings on earth, and much more 
surprising than the bridge Sajineh* Lsx->, on the 
frontier between Mesopotamia and the Byzantine 
empire, not far from Somaisat kLA*-o, in the coun- 
try of Sarujah f X^*-. This, and the city of 
Toledo,, are fortified, and have strong walls. 

The (Mohammedan) inhabitants of this city 
rebelled against the Omaiyides after the conquest, 
and defended themselves two years with success 
against them; but, in 315, the town was taken by 
'Abder-Rahman Ben Mohammed Ben 'Abdullah 
Ben Mohammed Ben 'Abder-Rahman Ben el- 
Hakam Ben Hisham Ben 'Abder-Rahman Ben 
Mo'awiyah Ben Hisham Ben 'Abdel-Melik Ben 
Merwan Ben el-Hakam, and he is at present [332 
A.M.,] king of Spain. Many buildings of this city 
were destroyed when it was taken. Kortobah 
AA^J was made the metropolis of Spain, and con- 
tinues to be so to this day. It is seven days' jour- 
ney from Toledo, and about three days from the 
sea: one day's journey from the sea is the town 
Ishbiliyah *JlAAf (Seville). The cultivation and 
towns of Spain extend about two months' journey, 

* This seems to be a corruption of the Greek word ^evy^a, 
or of the Arabic name Jasr Manbij, and to mean one or the other 
of these two bridges over the Euphrates. 

f Abulfeda writes Saruj. But en-Nowa'iri in an autographic 
copy of one of the volumes of his history (MS. of Leyden), spells 
the name like our author. 

2 B 2 


and amongst them there are nearly forty renowned 

The Omai'yades in Spain, are called the sons 
of the khalifs cjb^i! \ csvj, but they do not give 
them the title khalifah (successor of the prophet), 
for no prince has a claim to this title, in their 
opinion, who is not master of the two holy cities 
(which formed the dominions of the Prophet). 

'Abd er-Rahman Ben Mo'awiyah Ben Hisham 
Ben 'Abd el-Melik Ben Merwan went to Spain in 
in the Rebi' of 137* A.H. (and died in 171). He 
was succeeded by his son Hisham Ben 'Abd er- 
Rahman, who reigned nine years (180). Then 
reigned his son, el-Hakam Ben Hisham, nearly 
twenty years (206) f- At present reigns 'Abd 
er-Rahman Ben Mohammed (350) in Spain as we 
have said. He has a very good government. 

He made in 327 A. H., an expedition against the 
Christians, with more than one hundred thousand 
men, and encamped before the capital of the king- 

* One copy reads the year 137, and another 139; the real 
date is the tenth of Rebi'L, 138. 

f Here the names of 'Abd er-Rahman Ben el-Hakam [238] ; 
Mohammed Ben 'Abd er-Rahman [273]; el-Mondir Ben Mo- 
hammed [275]; and Abdullah [300]; are left out in all copies 
by a mistake of the transcribers. The dates between crotchets 
are the years of the death of the kings, and have been borrowed 
from Conde's Historia de la Domination de los Arabes en 
Espana, Madrid, 1820. 


dom of the Galicians, which is called Samurah, 
'ijjv* (Zamora), and surrounded with seven walls, 
which form one of the most wonderful buildings 
raised by ancient kings. From one wall to another 
is a considerable distance, in which run ditches 
filled with water. He conquered two walls, and 
then the besieged made a sally upon the assailants, 
and killed as many as they could reach; the 
number of those who fell under the sword, or were 
drowned, amounted to forty thousand men. This 
gave to the Galicians and Basques the superiority 
over the Moslims, and they took the towns and 
frontiers towards France from them. On this 
frontier is the city of Orbunah XJ^t, which the 
Moslims lost in 300 A.H., with other towns and 
fortresses, but the town is still existing after the 
conquest, to this day 332 A.H. 

In the eastern part of Spain, on the Medi- 
terranean, is the city of Tortushah *&> j^ ; and 
a little farther north, is Faraghah Xr^j on a large 
river, then Laridah SJ^, and still further north 
lies csvxb ; the last mentioned town is on the 
French frontiers. This is the most narrow pass of 
the Pyrenees. 

A short time previous to the beginning of the 
fourth century of the Hijrah, ships landed in Spain 
which had thousands of men on board, who made 
incursions on the coast. The Moslims of Spain 


believed that they were a Magian nation ^ U 
jM^sOlJ (fire worshippers) who were in the habit of 
visiting this country every two centuries. They 
came from a gulf of the Ocean, and not from the 
strait on which the pillars of copper (columns Her- 
culls) stand. I suppose this gulf is connected with 
the sea of Mayotis and the Pontus, (through a 
northern passage,) and that the invading nation 
were the Russians * u*j^ 5 of whom we have 
spoken; for no other nation sails in the seas which 
stand in connexion with the Ocean. In the Medi- 
terranean f, not far from Crete, planks of vessels 
of Indian plantain wood have been found, which 
were well cut and joined with fibres of the cocoa nut 
tree. It was evident that they were of wrecked 
vessels, and had been a long time in water; vessels 
of this description are only found in the Abyssinian 
sea, for the vessels of the Mediterranean and of the 
West are all joined with nails. In the Abyssinian 
sea, iron nails would not be applicable for sbip 
building, for the water of that sea corrodes the iron, 
and the nails become thinner and weaker in the 
water; hence the planks are joined with fibres and 
besmeared with grease and quicklime. This is a 
proof that the seas have a communication. The 

* They were the Normans. This suggestion, although it is 
not correct, does honour to the sagacity of our author. 

f Compare Ancient Accounts of India and China, translated 
by Renaudot, page 59. 


sea towards China and the country of es-Sila 
^XA*J! (jo-Jl), goes all round the country of the 
Turks, and has a communication with the sea 
of the West c-^jdj^ (the Atlantic), through some 
straits of the great ocean ^^ u*^^' 

On the coast of Syria, ambergris has been found 
thrown on shore, although it has never been a pro- 
duction of the Mediterranean since ancient times, 
and it is possible that it came there through the 
same way by which we suppose that the planks of 
the vessels came there from the sea of China. God 
knows best. The sea of Spain * abounds in am- 
bergris, and it is exported from Spain to Egypt and 
other countries, from the coasts of this sea called 
Shantirin ^.^J^JU-K (Santarem), and Shodaunah 
*3j*xi (Sidonia) . The ounce , in Bagdad weight, i s paid 
with three mithkals of gold in Spain, and in Egypt 
with ten dinars, although it is of an inferior quality. 

It is probable that the pieces of ambergris found 
on the Byzantine (Syrian) coasts have been propelled 
there by the waves, for the sea of Spain is in com- 
munication with the sea that washes these coasts. 

In Spain are considerable mines of silver and 
quicksilver, and since this is the best quicksilver 
that exists, it is exported into all Moslim, and not 
Moslim, countries. Other articles of exportation 

* Compare Al-Makarri, History of the Mohammedan dynas- 
ties in Spain, translated by M. Gayangos, vol. I. p. 89. 


from Spain are saffron and ginger roots J^-ST y\ \ 
The principal ingredients of perfumes are five: 
musk, camphor, aloes, ambergris, and saffron ; they 
all come from India, except saffron and ambergris, 
which are found in the country of the Zanj, in esh- 
Shihr, ^.=i=UJJ, and Spain. 

The kinds of spices x^Ut are twenty-five, viz., 
the hyacinth (spikenard) J^JUJI, gilly-flower 
sandal-wood ^AxaJJ, betel-nut (nutmeg) 
the rose ^\ 9 cassia Xs:Ou*J!, the bark of pomegra- 
nate -o;^ the finer species of cinnamon XJ^iM, 
cardamoms xXsijiH, cubeb< XjUJft, a species of 
cinnamon* |yxlL^J\, the berries of Ceesalpinia Sappa 
^XA!\ - 7 -^ 5 the roots of the Nymphea S^ULM, 
a species of grain resembling cherry-stones (growing 
in Aderbaijan) ^Lsv*!!, saffron of Yemen <j^^> 
costus-root \a.*&\, clove jlxli^i, the gum of the lada 
^J^M^ styrax X*xU, the seed of satonicum 
calamus aromaticus HiXjjjOi ^^ 9 orobanche j 
We have described the mines of silver, gold, quick- 
silver, and the places where all sorts of perfumes 
are found, in our work, the Akhbar ez-zeman: we 

* The Arabs distinguished particularly two species of cinna- 
mon which are both mentioned here: one of them is most likely 
the cinnamon of Ceylon (laurus cinnamonum)j and the other the 
cinnamon of China (laurus cassia?) or perhaps the Malabrathrum. 

j- The names of three drugs are left uncertain in the MSS. 


may, therefore, dispense with entering further on 
this subject in this book. 

The accounts which are reported respecting the 
sea of the west, are marvellous, particularly those 
which regard the sea that washes the cultivated 
districts of the Sudan (Negroes), and the extreme 
west. Men who are possessed of an extensive 
knowledge of our globe, say, that the Abyssinians 
and Sudan (Negroes) occupy a country of seven 
years' journey; that Egypt forms the sixtieth part 
of the country of the Sudan ; and that the country 
of the Sudan forms only a small portion of the sur- 
face of the earth, the dimension of which is five 
hundred years' journey. One third of it is inha- 
bited, one-third is desert, and one-third is covered 
with seas. The country of the Sudan borders on 
the most distant plains of the dominions of Idris 
Ben Tdris Ben 'Abdullah Ben el-Hasan Ben el- 
Hosain Ben 'All Ben Abi Taleb, in the Mag rib, 
which is the country of Tilimsan ^U^Xj, Tahart 
djjjblj, and Fas ^ (Fezz) : then comes Sus el- 
adna ^^1^*^, which is about two thousand three 
hundred miles from el-Kairwan, and twenty days' 
from Sus el-aksa. The cultivation extends, with- 
out interruption, as far as the Wadi-r-raml (valley 
of sandj and Kasr el-aswad (the black palace). 
Farther on come deserts of sand, in which one finds 
a town, of the name of Medinat en -Nonas wa 


Kibab er-Rasas (the town of copper, and the cupo- 
las of lead) . 

Musa Ben Nosair has penetrated as far as 
Medinat en-Nonas, under the reign of 'Abd el- 
Melik Ben Merwan. The wonderful things which 
he has seen, are related in several books which are 
known to every one. Some are of opinion that 
the town which has been stormed by Musa, is in 
the plains of the Ardh el-Kebirah S^AA&J u*j\ (the 
main land), which extends (north of the Peninsula) 
of Spain. Maimun Ben 'Abd el-Wehhab Ben 'Abd 
er- Rahman Ben Rostam el-Farisi, who was of the 
Ibadhian sect *\AC ^.j u-jl^H tX^c ( .^j (_^^^> 
^Uyfc ^ L5 * ; UJi jr*j ^.j ^^J has spread there 
the tenets of the Khawarij. Some historians believe 
that the inhabitants are remnants of the Ishban, 
who have cultivated those countries. Maimun 
had several wars with the Talebites. We shall 
speak on the different opinions respecting the 
Ishban ^jUt in another chapter of this book. 
Some connect them with the Persians, deriving the 
name from Isbahan ^1$.^. 

In these places of the Maghrib are found some 
of the sect of the Khawarij, called the Harurians* 

* One copy reads " Sofrians (Sj^JUaJl." The y are a 
fraction of the Harurians, so called from Saffar, the founder of 
the sect. 


l. They possess several cities, like the town 
of Dar'ah* Xj^a, which has large silver mines: this 
town lies towards el-Jasrf j**L\, and is contiguous 
with the country of the Abyssinians, with whom 
the inhabitants are at constant war. In our book 
called the Akhbar ez-zeman, we have related the 
wars of the Maghrib; and we have described the 
towns of that country ; we have named the sects of 
the Khawarij, as the Ibadhians, Sofrians, and the 
Mo'tazilite sects, who live there ; and we have re- 
lated the wars which arose between the followers 
of those two religious opinions. We have also 
acquainted the reader with the history of el-Aghlab 
et-Temimi ^&\ cAc^, who was appointed by el- 
Mansiir over the Maghrib %, of his residence in 
Afrikiyah, of the state of his affairs, during the 
reign of er-Rashid, and the succession of his son, as 
an independant prince, over Afrikiyah, and other 
provinces of the Maghrib, till Abu Nasr Ziadatul- 
lah Ben 'Abdullah Ben Ibrahim Ben Ahmed (Ben 
el-Aghlab Ben Ibrahim Ben Mohammed ) Ben 

* The MSS. read XcJo and SufJ. 

f One copy reads " towards the South." 

J Abulfeda and Rasmussen (Annales Moslim.) say, that 
Ibrahim Ben el-Aghlab is the founder of the dynasty, and that 
he has been appointed by er-Rashid. 

It should run Ben Mohammed Ben Ibrahim, leaving out 
Ben Aghlab. Compare Abulfeda ad annum 296. 


el-Aghlab, one of his successors, was expelled by 
Abu 'Abdullah, the Mohtesib, who was a Sufi, and 
an emissary of the governor of el-Mahdiyah. He 
drove him out, with the assistance of the Ketamah 
5LoUr, and other tribes of the Berbers, in 297, A.H., 
during the Khalifat of el-Moktader. All this is 
related in the Akhbar ez-zeman, where we also 
describe his march to er-Rakkah. This man had 
originally been Mohtesib (officer of police) at 
Ramhormuz, in the Ahwaz. 

We now resume our subject, and continue to 
name the kings, postponing the description of the 
kingdoms situated on the Abyssinian sea, which we 
intend hereafter to introduce to the notice of the 

The king of the Zanj is Wafliman (2j ^X 
the king of el-Lan is Kerkendaj glxiTjT ( 
the kings of el-Hirah were the No'mans XJ 
and the Mondirs *,iUU ; the king of the mountainous 
country of Tabaristan was Faran ^U (cv,lj or jjjU), 
and el-Jebel is named after him and his sons to this 
day. The king of India is the Ballahra cf^XxJl; 
the king of Kinnauj, who is one of the kings of es- 

Sind is Budah SA^J ()^ or iatp) ; this is a title 
general to all kings of el- Kinnauj *: at present this 

* En-Nowa'iri states, that the title of the king of Kinnauj is 


city is under the sceptre of the Islam, for it forms a 
province of el-Multan. Through this town passes 
one of the (five) rivers, which form together the 
river Mihran in es-Sind, which is considered by el- 
Jahit k^lit as the Nile, and by others as the 
Jai'hun of Khorasan*. This Budah, who is the 
king of el-Kinnauj , is an enemy of the Ballahra the 
king of India. The king of el-Kandahar ^U^XJ!, 
who is one of the kings of es-Sind ruling over this 
country, is called Jahaj ^\^-. (^^v^-) ; this name is 
common to all sovereigns of that country. From 
his dominions comes the river Rayid <>oV,, one of 
the five rivers which form the Mihran of es- 
Sind. Kandahar is called the country of the Rahbut 

(j * 

(Rajbut) ls}*&>^\ (k^/jfc^H); another river of the 

Panjab is called Hatil JJsbb ; it comes also from the 
mountains of es-Sind, and runs through the country 
of er-Rahbut, which is the country of el-Kandahar: 
the fourth river of the Panjab comes from the coun- 
try of Kabul and its mountains, which forms the 
frontier of es-Sind towards Bost k*j, Ghaznahf 

Ray (S\y Perhaps the difference of the times when el-Mas'udi 
and en-Nowai'ri wrote, may account for the difference of their 

* The first of these two errors came from the Greeks to the 
Arabs, and the others from the Persians. 
MSS. read -Js and 


Nafsh (?) (jliu (yjjju, er-Rokhkhaj g^jti, and 
the country of er-Rawan* (^^ which is the fron- 
tier of Sijistan. One of the five rivers comes from 
the country of Kashmir ^^L3. The king of Kash- 
mir has the name er-Rama ^\^\ (cfyi), which is 
a general title for all kings. 

Kashmir is situated in the mountains of es- 
Sind, and forms a powerful kingdom, which com- 
prizes from sixty to seventy thousand towns and 
villages ; and his territory is unapproachable except- 
ing from one side, so that he can shut up the whole 
of his dominions with one gate ; for it is surrounded 
by mountains of such height that neither men nor 
wild animals can climb over them, and they are 
only accessible to birds. Where there are no 
mountains, there are inaccessible valleys, trees, 
jungles, and rivers which defend the place by their 
rapidity. The natural fortifications of this country 
is well known in Khorasan and other provinces, 
and it is one of the most wonderful things in the 

The dominions of Budah the king of Kinnauj, 
extend about one hundred and twenty Sindian 
farsangs in length and breadth ; one of their far- 
sangs is eight of our miles. The above-mentioned 
king has four armies, corresponding with the four 

* MSS. read here and in other passages .* j. 


cardinal winds. Each of these four armies consists 
of seven hundred thousand men. The army of the 
north has to oppose the king of el-Multan and his 
allies. The army of the south has to defend the 
the country against the Ballahra, the king of el- 
Mankir ; and in the same manner are the other 
armies engaged against the other neighbouring 
powers. It is said that the towns, villages, and 
estates in his dominions, the extent of which we 
have stated, amount, as far as can be counted, to 
one million and eight hundred thousand villages, 
surrounded by trees, rivers, mountains, and 

Although he possesses few elephants in com- 
parison with other kings, he maintains near a 
thousand war elephants. If an elephant is spirited, 
pugnacious, and brave, a rider sits on his back, and 
he has a Fautal jJ^j (J^O which is a kind of 
sword, in his trunk. The trunk is covered with 
mail and iron, and the rest of his body is protected 
by an armour of iron and leather ; such an elephant 
is surrounded by five hundred men, who protect 
him from behind. An elephant thus equipped, 
keeps his ground against six thousand horsemen. 
He advances, retires, goes round (and makes the 
military evolutions), like a horse with a rider on his 
back. These are the manoeuvres of the elephants 
of the Hindus in all their wars. 

We have already stated that the sovereign power 


over el-Multan rests in the family of Samah* Ben 
Lawi Ben Ghalib <-_*JU ^ ^ ^j JUU They 
have considerable forces. Their territory is one 
^ of the greatest of those Moslim countries, which 
\ form a frontier against unbelieving nations. There 
i are on the frontiers of el-Multan about one hundred 
^thousand villages and estates, as far as they can be 
'counted. There is the celebrated idol of el-Multan, 
to which the inhabitants of es-Sind and India 
perform pilgrimages by thousands, from the most 
distant places ; they carry money^ precious stones, 
aloes, and other sorts of perfumes, there to fulfil 
their vows. The greatest part of the revenue of the 
king of el-Multan, comes from the rich presents of 
genuine komari aloes ; one mann of which is worth 
two hundred dinars ; for it is so genuine, that it 
receives the impression of a seal like wax ; and 
from other objects of value, which are brought 
there as offerings. When the unbelievers march 
against el-Mi'iltan, and the Moslims do not feel 
themselves strong enough to oppose them, they 
threaten to break their idol, and their enemies 
immediately withdraw their armies. 

I visited el-Multan after 300 A. H., when Abu 

* Page 234, supra, this name is spelt Osamah SLoLwJ in all 
copies, whilst they read in this passage Samah, and lower down 
they write the family name of this dynasty, es-Samf . 


-d-Dilhat el-Monbad (el-Monabbih) Ben Asad el- 
Karshi es-Sami 

was king there. At the same time, 
I visited el-Mansurah ; the king of that country 
was then Abul-Mondir Omar Ben 'Abdullah 
^3! ju>c ^j jS^**^] f*\. I was acquainted with 
his vizier Riah ^.lj^> with his sons Mohammed and 
'Ali, and with an Arab of the name of Hamzah, 
who was one of the lords and kings of the Bedouins. 
There were also many descendants of 'Ali Ben Abi 
Taleb, of 'Omar Ben 'Ali, and of Mohammed Ben 
'Ali, at el-Mansurah. There is some relationship 
between the royal family of el-Mansurah and the 
family of esh-Shawarib the Kadi ^IXM u_r,^^J!, 
for the kings of el-Mansurah are of the family of 
Habbar Ben el-Aswad, and have the name of Beni 
'Amr Ben 'Abd el-Aziz el-Karshi, who is to be 
distinguished from 'Amr Ben 'Abd el-Aziz Ben 
Merwan, the Omaiyide (khalif). 

When all the rivers which we have enumerated 
have passed the Golden house (or temple) * ^^AJ 
c_jui>xH, which is the meaning of the name of el- 
Multan, they unite at about three days' journey 
below this city and above el-Mansurah, at a place 

* It is probably a fault of the copyists that we read in a pre- 
ceding passage, that the name of el-Multan means " meadow of 

2 c 


called Dushab v*A^> in ^ one stream which pro- 
ceeds to the town of er-Rud ^^\ (^<^0> which lies 
on its western bank and belongs to el-Mansurah, 
where it receives the name Mihran j,|j$-o. There it 
is divided into two branches, both of which fall at 
the town of Shakirah kyi-l, which belongs also to 
one of the districts of el-Mansurah, into the Indian 
sea, under the name of Mihran of es-Sind j,|^ 
JsJUJ!, about two days' journey from the town of 

El-Multan is seventy-five Sindian fursangs from 
el-Mansurah. Each farsang has eight miles, as 
stated above. All the estates and villages under the 
dependency of el-Mansurah amount to three hundred 
thousand. The whole country is well cultivated, 
and covered with trees and fields. They are at 
constant war with a nation called the Mind \j*H, 
who are a race of the Sind, and with other nations 
on the frontiers of es-Sind. El-Multan is equally 
on the frontier of es-Sind, and so are the towns and 
villages belonging to it. El-Mansurah has its name 
from Mansur Ben Jamhur, governor of the Omai- 
yides. The king of el-Mansurah has eighty war 
elephants, every one of which is supported by five 
hundred infantry in battle, as we have already re- 
marked; and these elephants can oppose thousands 
of horse. 

I have seen two elephants of this king, which 
had become famous at the courts of India and es- 


Sind for their courage and success in wars. One 
had the name Monkirkals y^Xi^Ju^o (y^X^^o), and 


the other Haidarah k^j^. Many curious stories 
are related respecting Monkirkals, throughout all 
India. On the death of one of his leaders, he did 
not eat nor drink for several days, and he cried and 
sighed like a human being who is mourning. Tears 
fell from his eyes, and thus he continued for a con- 
siderable time. Another story is, that he went out 
one day from his hayir ^>U, which means the 
stable of elephants; Haidarah was behind him, and 
they were followed by eighty other elephants. 
When they came to a narrow street in el-Mansurah 
a woman came unawares on the elephant, and was 
so frightened that she fell on her back, and she was 
uncovered in the middle of the road. Monkirkals, 
observing this, posted himself across the road, turn- 
ing his right side in opposition to the elephants 
coming behind him, to prevent them from injuring 
the woman, and he gave her a sign with his trunk 
to rise from the ground, having first placed her dress 
in order and covered her. When she was in safety 
with her husband, the elephant changed his position 
and continued his way, followed by the others. 

The natural history of the elephant is full of 
interesting stories of this kind; and they are not 
only used for war, but for many other purposes, as 
for carrying burdens, drawing carriages, threshing 

2 c 2 

388 EL-MAs'uni's MEADOWS OF GOLD, 

rice, and other sorts of grain tyH, as oxen tread 
out corn on a floor. We shall speak on the ele- 
phants in the chapter on the Zanj : for nowhere else 
are they so numerous as in their country, where 
they live in a wild state. 

Let us now resume our short account of the 
kings of es-Sind and India. The language of es- 
Sind is different from that of India. Es-Sind is 
the country which is nearer the dominions of the 
Moslims, and India that which is farther from 
them. The inhabitants of el-Mankir, which is the 
residence of the Ballahra, speak the Kiriyah lan- 
guage X.j^T (xyJ'), which has this name from the 
places where it is spoken. On the coast, as in 
Saimur (?) j^v*, Subarah, Tanah, and other towns 
on the coast of the Ladiwa sea, a language is 
spoken which has its name from the sea which 
washes these countries; and this is the Ladiwa sea, 
which has been described above. On this coast 
are many rivers,, which run from the south, whilst 
all other rivers of the world flow from north to 
south, excepting the Nile, of Egypt, and the Mihran, 
of es-Sind. We have given an explanation why 
this is the case, and we have stated what the 
learned say on the subject, in our Akhbar ez- 
zeman. In the same work we have named the 
places which have a great elevation (above the level 
of the sea), and those which are less elevated. 

Neither in India, nor in es-Sind, is there a sove- 


reign who disturbs the peace of the Moslims in 
their own country*. The Islam is, therefore, 
flourishing there. The mosques and jami's for 
Moslim worship are large and splendid, their kings 
are long-lived, and reign forty, fifty, and more 
years, and the (Moslim) subjects believe, that the 
length of the life of a sovereign depends upon his 
justice and the respect paid to the Moslims. He 
(the Ballahra) pays his army from the public trea- 
sury, as the Moslims do. In his empire Talata- 
wian 5u^kXk (Tatarian Xj^klk) dirhams are in cir- 
culation, one of which weighs a drachm and a half. 
The coins are impressed with the date when their 
king succeeded to the throne. His war elephants 
are beyond number. This country is also called 
the country of el-Kiminker j&JJl (^XjJj). On 
one side it is exposed to the inroads of the king of 
the Khazar ^y^J, who possesses a great number of 
horses, camels, and troops, and they believe that 
there is no king on earth more glorious than he, 
excepting the king of the climate of Babel, which 
is the fourth climate ; for this king surpasses in 
magnificence and valour all other kings of the 
world. The Ballahra has a great animosity against 

* One copy reads " who persecutes the Moslims in his coun- 
try ; so, for instance, the Ballahra ;" and all that follows respecting 
the longevity of the kings, is said there in reference to the Bal- 


the Moslims. He has a number of elephants : his 
dominions occupy a tongue of land, and are so rich 
in mines of gold and silver, that gold and silver is 
the medium of their commerce. 

Next to this country is the kingdom of et-Takin 
0ylU!. The king is on friendly terms with the 
neighbouring sovereigns and with the Moslims ; his 
military forces are less considerable than those of 
the kings whom we have named. In this kingdom 
are the prettiest women of all India. They are 
praised for their beauty in books, De Coitu <_o;r* 
*U!J, and sailors are excedingly anxious to buy them. 
They are known under the name of Takinians. 
Beyond this kingdom is that of Rahma ^, which 
is the title for their kings, and generally at the same 
time their name. His dominions border on those 
of the king of the Khazars ; and, on one side, on 
those of el-Ballahra, with whom he is frequently 
at war. Rahma has more troops, elephants, and 
horses, than the Ballahra, the king of el-Khazar and 
of et-Takin. When he takes the field, he has no 
less than five thousand elephants. He never goes 

* A work of this title, by the celebrated Rhazes, is in the 
library of Ley den. The number of curious observations, the 
correct and practical ideas, and the novelty of the notions of 
eastern nations on these subjects, which are contained in this book, 
render it one of the most important productions of the medical 
literature of the Arabs. 


to war but in winter, because the elephants cannot 
bear thirst. His forces are generally exaggerated ; 
some believe that the number of fullers and washers 
in his camp, is from ten to fifteen thousand. The above- 
mentioned kings fight in squares, every one amount- 
ing to twenty thousand men ; so that every one of 
the four sides of the square has five thousand men. 

In the kingdom of Rahma cowries are used as 
the medium of exchange in commerce. His country 
abounds in silver, gold, and aloes, and there the 
finest cloths known are manufactured. From this 
country a sort of hair, called ^QxA) saiman, 
is exported, which is fastened on ivory and silver, 
and used as fly-flaps. Servants, with such instru- 
ments in their hands, stand at the head of the kings 
when they hold court. 

In his country is an animal of the name of 


j{u<U (<JJuJj) ^l&Jt, which common people call the 
unicorn ^jJ^fil- It has in its forehead one horn 
and is not as great as the elephant, but much 
higher than the buffalo. This animal bellows like 
a bull. Elephants take flight from it, because, God 
knows, there is no animal stronger than this. Its 
bones are not divided into limbs, but the legs are 
without articulation; hence, it cannot bend its limbs. 
It lives in forests and woods, and when it sleeps it 
leans on a tree. The Hindus and the Moslims in 
India eat the flesh of this animal, for it enters into 


the class of bulls and buffaloes. Most Hindus are 
unacquainted with this animal; but in the kingdom 
of Rahma it is more frequent, and its horn is there 
purer and finer. The horns are white, with a black 
figure in the middle, on a white ground; representing 
the outlines and shades of the figures of men, 
guinea-fowls, fish, and of the unicorn itself, or of 
some other animal found in those countries. This 
horn is wrought, and they make girdles and ribbons 
of it, just as such ornaments are made of gold and 
silver. These articles form part of the dress of the 
kings and nobles of China; and they are so much 
valued, that such a girdle costs from two to four 
thousand dinars. From these girdles ornaments of 
gold are suspended, and they look exceedingly well : 
sometimes they are inlaid with precious stones and 
gold. The figures, in the horn of the unicorn, are 
black, on a white ground; sometimes, however, 
they are white on a black ground. El-Jahit be- 
lieves, that the unicorn is a seven months' camel, 
which stretches its head out from the womb of the 
mother to graze, and then it draws it in again. He 
relates this extraordinary fact in his book te On 

Animals" ^V-^ v^- This story led me to 
inquire of the merchants of Siraf and 'Oman, who 
visit those places, and whom I saw in India : every- 
body was surprised at my question, and assured me, 
that the pregnancy and delivery of the unicorn are 
not different from that of the buffalo. I do not 


know how el-Jahit learnt this story; whether he 
found it in some book, or whether it had been 
related to him. 

The king Rahma has maritime and inland 
provinces. On his empire borders a kingdom, 
which has no sea: the name of the king is el-Kas 
i^l&J (u-U&O- T ne inhabitants are white; they 
have their ears slit; and the men and women are 
very handsome. They have elephants., camels, and 

The neighbour of this king is the king of el- 
Farbikh gi^AN (g^\ or ^yfll) (Kamirus?); who 
possesses maritime provinces and inland provinces, 
his dominions being situated on a peninsula. The 
sea throws ambergris on shore, and the country is 
productive of pepper and elephants. He is brave 
and proud. But he is less powerful than proud, 
and less brave than overbearing. 

The inhabitants of the country of el-Maujah 
x^.U which comes next, are of a white complexion 
and handsome; they do riot slit their ears. They 
have horses and the necessary warlike equipment 
for defence. Their country is rich in musk. We 
have described the musk-deer in the preceding pages. 
The inhabitants dress like the Chinese. Their 
country is defensible against invasion by its moun- 
tains, the summits of which are white; and there 
are no higher mountains, either in India or in 
es-Sind, than these. The musk of their country is 


celebrated and is named after it, for sailors and 
merchants, who export this article and carry on 
commerce with it, call it Maujahian musk 

Beyond el-Maujah is the kingdom of el-Mayid 
jolU or JulU), which has a number of towns, 
extensive cultivated districts, and numerous armies. 
Their kings employ eunuchs in their service, and 
for the administration of their provinces, which 
yield very many natural products*, for levying the 
revenues, and as governors ; as it is the habit with 
the kings of the Chinese, which we have described in 
their history. El-Mayid borders on China, and 
there pass constantly ambassadors from one country 
to the other with presents, which are exchanged 
between the two courts. But these two kingdoms 
are separated by great mountains, which are very 
difficult of access. The Mayid are very brave and 
strong. The messengers of the king of the Mayid, 
which are sent to China, are watched lest they should 
spy out the country, and take advantage of the 
weak points ; and lest they should know the roads of 
the extinsive dominions of the Chinese. 

^J1 Literally, "they are mines." The word 
mine is used in Arabic, as well for places which yield perfumes and 
spices, as for such as yield metals. Another copy has ^UlJ 
instead of slxU, an( l gives to the sentence the meaning, *' as, 
for instance, the province of el-Mawan." 


The Hindu and Chinese nations, which we 
have mentioned, have their own manners and usages 
in eating, drinking, husbandry, dressing, and in the 
art of healing. They use actual cautery ^UJL ^\, 
&c. An example of their manners is, that their 
kings do not think it prudent to prevent the free 
passage of wind, "for," they say, "it is a noxious 
matter," and they do not think it at all improper to 
let it freely escape under any circumstance. Their 
sages had the same opinion and practice. They 
thought, that restraint in this matter was unwhole- 
some and productive of illness ; whilst they con- 
sidered it as a cure, to give free psssage to the 
wind. This they considered as the greatest remedy 
as a preservative against cholic and constipation, 
and as a relief for complaints of the spleen. Hence 
they pass wind both gently and aloud, without any 
restraint ; nor do they consider it to be against 
good breeding. The ancient Hindus were well 
skilled in medicine, and curious anecdotes are 
related of them, which are connected with this 
subject. An historian says of the Hindus, that 
they consider it less genteel to cough,, than to 
break wind aloud. An eructation is considered as 
the same thing, as smothered effects of flatulency,, 
for the noise in breaking wind loudly deprives it of 
the offensive smell. The historian shows that what 
he says respecting the Hindus is generally known, 
and has been acknowledged in biographical, histo- 


rical, miscellaneous, and poetical works, as in the 
poem which has the title jAit cMi, which he quotes. 

"The wise and eloquent Hindu pronounces an 
opinion which I am embellishing with the charms 
of poetry. Do not restrain loud wind whenever 
you may feel it, but break it and open the doors to 
it, for restraint in this matter is unwholesome ; but, 
to give to wind free passage, brings you rest and 
health. Coughing and blowing the nose is indecent 
and ill-bread ; but not breaking wind aloud. Eruc- 
tations and genteel winds are the same thing, with 
the only difference, that a genteel wind has a more 
offensive smell." 

The wind in the bowels is, indeed, in both cases 
the same, and only different with reference to the 
way by which it is expelled ; that which comes up 
is called eructation, and that which goes down is 
called flatulency : it is the same as the distinction 
between slapping (the face),, and a thump (on the 
back of the head) (wyUaJ!^ X*kMi), the one is on the 
face, the other on the occiput, but in reality they 
are the same thing ; it is only a distinction of the 
region of the body. 

Man is subject to many affections, constant 
accidents, and long diseases, as cholic, pains in the 
stomach, and other accidents,, which arise from an 
accumulation of impurities in the primes via, which 
are not discharged when they are mobile, and when 
nature makes its regular efforts to discharge them. 


Other animals are free from these evils ; for matters 
which create disorders in the bowels are with them 
immediately discharged, since they oppose no con- 
straint. Ancient philosophers and the sages of the 
Greeks, like Democritus u^^H**, Pythagoras 
u^jys. UL5, Socrates k^Ju*, Diogenes u*jUjS, and 
other sages of all nations rejected every restraint 
in these things, because they knew what harm 
arises from it; and everybody who has the talent of 
observation will have noticed in himself, that they 
were right in their opinion ; for it is a rule, esta- 
blished by experience, and confirmed by reasoning. 
But moralists find fault with it, for different rea- 
sons, although it has nothing to do with them. 

El-Mas'udi says, we have related the history of 
the kings of India, their usages, interesting anec- 
dotes, showing their manners j^~>, and their social 
habits, in our Akhbar ez-zeman, and in the Kitab 
el-ausat, where we have entered into details res- 
pecting the Maharaj, who is the king of the islands 
from which drugs and spices are exported, as well 
as on other kings of India, as the king of el-Komar, 
and other sovereigns of the mountainous districts, 
which are opposite these islands, as ez-Zanij, and 
others; and the history of the kings of China, of 
the king of Serendib, and of the country of Man- 
dura u^JsLo (&* (jjuy***)> which is opposite to 
the island Serendib, as Komar is opposite the 
islands of the Maharaj, to which ez-Zanij belongs. 


Every king of the country of Mandura has the 
title el-Kay idi JuUH- 

We shall give notices of the kings of the east 
and west, south (^.j^l) and north, in this book, 
speaking of the kings of Yemen, and of the Per- 
sians, Romans, Greeks, the Maghrib and the differ- 
ent Abyssinian and Negro nations, and of some 
nations who have descended from Yafeth. 



On the Caucasus; account of the Alans, Khazar ; 
of the different races of Turks, and the Bulgarians; 
also a notice of Bab el-Abwdb (Derbend), and the 
neighbouring nations.* 

THE mountain of el-Kaikhf *&! (Caucasus) is a 
large mountain, and is of such extent that it com- 

* This chapter of our author, for the most part, is translated 
into French in Klaproth's Magazin Asiatique, Paris, 1835. I 
made this translation without being aware that there already 
existed one ; but, subsequently, when I had seen the French 
version, I compared mine with it, and, in several instances where 
I differ from it, put the Arabic text, to justify myself. 

f Caucasus means the lull mountain, from the Persian words 
Hjfr^gdw Koh. It is therefore not to be considered as a mis- 
take, if Herodotus gives to the Caucasus the name Taurus, but 
as a translation of the Persian name. The Boun-Dehesh offers a 
sufficient explanation, why so many mountains were called Taurus 
or Bull mountains. The Persians took the same view of the 
mountains as of the rivers, which has been shown p. 243, supra, 
attaching religious ideas to these natural fortresses, with which 
Providence had protected their country on some parts. As 
long as the empire had narrow limits, the Taurus was the end of 


prizes a number of kingdoms and nations. In this 

their world; when it extended further to the north, it was the 
Caucasus, and the Imaus in the south, both of which received 
therefore the sacred name of Bull mountain, which was con- 
nected with star worship, for the Bull mountain was evidently 
sacred to el-Borj _ oJj. The first meaning of this word is 
stronghold ; and it has been applied to the signs of the zodiac, 
for a reason which has been stated in page 205, supra, note. 

These natural fortresses or strongholds of Iran were naturally 
compared with the strongholds of heaven, and hence they are 
simply called Alborj in the Zend-Avesta, whilst other writers call 
them simply the Bulls (el-Kaf, i,e., Gaw). 

Providence considered the welfare of Iran or Khunnerets, 
at the moment of the creation, protecting this sacred country by 
rivers and mountains; hence we find, even in Mohammedan cos- 
mogony, that their world (the Khunnerets) is based upon a fish, 
(/.<?., the four rivers, see p. 243, supra) which rests upon a bull, 
on whose back stand the mountains, (see the third note to p. 44, 

The name of the Caucasus ^\ in Mas'udi is so variously 
punctuated, that we can little rely on the correctness of the read- 
ing of it by later authors. They make generally ^XiM of it, 
because this word has a meaning in Arabic. I read it ^vxiJI 
el-Ka'ikh, considering the word as a contraction of Gaw-Koh. This 
suggestion is founded upon the authority of several Arabic authors, 
(MS. of the Royal Library at Paris, No. 847, anc.fonds, fol. 22, 
recto; en-Nowairi; Kamus, p. 1330; Isstachri, tabula xv.,and el- 
Kazwini aja'ib el-Makhlukat, where by a mistake cJixXM is written), 
who derive their knowledge of the Caucasus from a different source 
than el-Mas'udi, and write jJuxM el-Kaik, which is only a dif- 
ferent mode for expressing the same sound. 

The passage to which I am alluding of the MS. 874, anc. 


mountain live seventy-two nations*, and every nation 
has its own king and language which differs from 
the others. This mountain has several passes and 
valleys; in one of them, Kisra Anushirwan has 
built the town of Bab el-Abwab. He constructed 
also a wall between this town and the sea of the 
Khazar (the Caspian sea) which runs even one mile 
into the sea. This wall, which extends to the sum- 
mit of the mountain of el-Kaikh, is about forty 
farsangs long, and crosses mountains and valleys. 
At the other end stands the fortress of Taberistanf 
^(X*j^3. Anushirwan made at every three miles, 
more or less, according to the importance of the 
way which leads to it, a gate of iron ; and he settled 

fonds, is curious : " A man (whose name is not clear in the MS.) 
related to me, that he had been sent by some king of the Cau- 
casus i_JuxJ\ Jj^ to the king of the Russians, for he believed 
that they had an inscription, engraved on wood. (When I came 
there) they showed me some white pieces of wood, with drawing 
.jifcju on them. I do not know whether they were the signs for 
whole words or separate letters. They looked like this" here 
follows a drawing. 

* Timosthenes finds in Diuscurias, the capital of the Colchians, 
three hundred different nations and tongues. Pliny vii., 5. 

f Taberistan is a wrong reading met with in other authors as 
well as in el-Mas'udi, instead of / . ^U^jJo Tabasseran, which is 
the name of an ancient fortress, and of a province of Daghestan. 
It has with the Persians, also, the name U^xls Taberseran 

2 D 


at every gate, within the wall, people who were to 
guard the gate and the wall near it, to check the 
incursions of the nations who live on these moun- 
tains: as the Khazar, el-Lan, the different Turkish 
hordes, the Serir, Targhiz*, and other unbelieving 
nations. The jebel el-Kaikh extends in length and 
breadth about two months' journey ; and the people 
who live upon and about it can only be counted by 
Him who created them. 

One pass of this mountain *jU Je^l leads 
towards the sea of the Khazar (Caspian), and is not 
far from Bab el-Abwab as we have mentioned. 
Another runs towards the sea Mayotis, with which 
the strait of Constantinople communicates as 
we have before said. On this sea is the town 
of Trebizond k'Joyj^k. There is a fair once a year, 
at which merchants assemble from all nations 
Moslims, Byzantines, Armenians, and others from 
the country of Kashakf S.ZS. 

* All copies read ..cjjJJ. Klaproth reads JfcX>JJ Bulgarians; 
and this seems to be correct, for there are some passages further 
on in this chapter where our author speaks of the wars of this 
nation against the Byzantines. And the comparison of his ac- 
count with Greek authors shows, that he means the Bulgarians. 
In the copy of Cambridge, JLL is written in some instances as a 
correction on the margin. I thought it better not to change this 
error, for, in some instances, it may be that our author means not 
the Bulgarians, but a different nation. 

f One copy reads " Alans." 


When Anushirwan had built this city, which 
bears the name of Bab el-Abwab, and the wall 
which runs over land, water, and mountains, and 
when he had settled people there, (a military 
colony,) and kings, he assigned to them (the kings) 
their ranks v^'lr* an ^ districts, and marked the 
boundary, as Ardeshir Ben Babek had done when 
he assigned to the kings of Khorasan their ranks. 
One of the kings in those districts which border on 
the country of the Moslims, near the province of 
Barda'ah Xc^j, to whom Anushirwan assigned his 
rank, was a king of the name of Sharwan (jj^> 
and from him his dominions have this name*. His 
title was Sharwan Shah *L2 (jj\-^, and every 
king who is in possession of those districts has the 
name Sharwan, (which sounds Sharwan-Shah with 
the title). His kingdom has at present [332 A.H.] 
about one month's journey in circumference, for he 
has conquered several provinces which had not been 
assigned to him by Anushirwan ; and these new ac- 
cessions are now considered as part of his dominions. 
The present king [we have just mentioned the date 
in which we write] is a Moslim of the name of Mo- 
hammed Ben Yezid. He is a descendant of Behram 
Gur j^ -l^j. The ruler of Khorasanf at present 

f This is probably an error instead of Khosru Shah ( Abulfeda, 
page 387). 

2 D 2 


[we have just mentioned the date] is one of the 
descendants of Isma'il Ben Ahmed ; and Isma'il 
derived his origin also from Behram Gur. Nobody 
who knows genealogy will contradict it. 

The king of the Serir, Mohammed Ben Yezid, 
equally a descendent of Behram Gur who is the 
Sharwan, is in possession of the city of Bab el- 
Abwab, since the death of a near relation of his, of 
the name of 'Abdul-Melik Ben Hesham <XXUx*c 
-Uob (JL ^j ? who was a man of the Ansar. He and 
his forefathers, had been the governors of Bab el- 
Abwab, and had been settled there since the time 
when Moslemah Ben 'Abdul-Melik xxc ^j.j '&*** 
c^XU and other Moslim leaders, conquered that 
country in the beginning of the Islam. 

On the kingdom of Sharwan borders another 
kingdom of the mountains of el-Kaikh, which has 
the name Layidan* j,1x^ ( e ^W). The king is 
called Layidan-shah sLS^Utf (*l-S ^)- It has 
recently been conquered by Sharwan Mohammed 
Ben Yezid. He has also subjugated the kingdom of 
the Mukanians *ol*jXi. The king of el-Kizf 

* Klaproth found this name spelt LjJ Abran. 

f El-Kiz seems to be a wrong reading, instead of OCXM el-Lakz. 
This seems to be the Arabic name for the Lesghiz, which has 
some resemblance to the Georgian name of the same nation, 
Lek'hethi : and the Lekos, mentioned in Vakhthang (apud St. 
Martin, vol. ii., page 182) as one of the fathers of the Caucasian 
nations, is in all likelihood the father of the same nation. 


is equally a vassal of Sharwan. The population 
of this kingdom, which is situated on the mountains, 
is innumerable. Some of them are unbelievers, and 
do not acknowledge the Sharwan as their master: 
they are the Dudanians 2Lob^xM (X/Jb^JM or XiA^l), 
who are pagans, and have no king. The usages 
which they are said to have in their marriages and 
traffic, are very singular. 

There are passes and valleys in this mountain 
which are inhabited by nations who are unac- 
quainted with each other, on account of the diffi- 
culty of communication, which is impeded by the 
height and roughness of the mountains, by marshes 
and forests, by the waters which flow down from 
the summits, and by the immense rocks and stones. 

This man, named Sharwan, has subjected many 
kingdoms in these mountains which had been given 
to various chiefs by Anushirwan and others who 
organized that country. They are now all under 
the sceptre of Mohammed Ben Yezid ; amongst 
them is Khorasan Shah (Khosru Shah) and Rawan 
Shah ^Lfc ^j (*t gUb). We shall relate how 
he became master of the kingdom of Sharwan. He 
and his father were in possession of Layidan, and 
had no other kingdom*. The king of Sharwan is 

Jj a 


the neighbour of the king of Taberistan ^.jU^x^, 
who is, in our time, a Moslim of the name of Ibn 
Okht 'Abdul Melik JiJH XAC ^J ^J, who has been 
Emir of Bab el-Abwab. 

The nation nearest to Bab el-Abwab are the Hai'dan 
(^.jjj^ ((^oyc*). They form one of the kingdoms 
of the Khazar. Next to Haidan is the kingdom of 
the Khazar. Their metropolis was the city of Se- 
mender * ^*x;*~>, which is eight days' journey from 
the town of Bab el-Abwab. This city has a nume- 
rous population of Khazar, but it is no longer the 
capital, for when Solaiman Ben Rabi'ah el-Bahili 
^Lfc UJi ***j; > ^UxX*d conquered Semender in the 
beginning of the Islam, the king transferred his 
residence to Itil JJJ, which is seven days' journey 
from Semender ; and since this time the kings of 
the Khazar reside there. 

This town (Itil) is divided into three parts, by 
a large river, which rises from the higher regions 
of the country of the Turks, and from which an 
arm branches off, somewhere near the country of 
the Targhiz y*j&\ (Bulgarians), and falls into the 
sea of Mayotisf. This town has two sides. In 

* Compare Fraehn, de Chasaris, in Actis Acad. Imp. Scient. 
Petersbourg, 1822, vol. viii. Klaproth informs us, that the 
modern name of Semender is Tarku, or Tarkhu ^.jjN 

f The error that the Don is a branch of the Wolga is also 
met with in Byzantine authors. (Klaproth.) 


the middle of the river is an island, in which the 
king resides. The palace of the king stands on the 
extremity of this island, and is connected by a 
bridge of boats with one of the two sides of the 
town. In this town are many Moslims and 
Christians, Jews and Pagans. The king, his suite, 
[and the Khazar of his army*,] embraced the 
tenets of the Jews, in the reign of er-Rashid. To 
this king flock the Jews from all the Moslim dis- 
tricts, and from the Byzantine empire ; for the em- 
peror forced the Jews of his dominions to turn 
Christians, and loaded the converts with favours. 
The present [332, A.H.] Byzantine emperor is Ar- 
manus u-^JU;! (Romanus II.). We shall speak in 
another chapter on the Byzantine emperors ; how 
many there were ; and we shall also give the history 
of Romanus and his colleague. Under these cir- 
cumstances, many Jews took flight from the By- 
zantine empire into the country of the Khazar. As 
we cannot insert in this book the history of the 
conversion of the king of the Khazar to Judaism, 
we refer the reader to our former works. 

One of the various Pagan nations who live in 
his country are the Sekalibah XxJlx*^ (Sclavonians), 
and another the Rus y*^ (the Russians). They 
live in one of the two sides of this town : they burn 

* These words are left out in some copies. 


the dead with their cattle, utensils, arms, and orna- 
ments. When a man dies, his wife is burnt alive 
with him; but, when the wife dies, her husband is 
not burnt. If a bachelor dies, he is married after 
his death. Women are glad to be burnt; for they 
cannot enter into paradise by themselves. This 
usage prevails also among the Hindus,, as we have 
said. But the Hindus never burn a woman with 
her husband, unless it is her own wish. 

The majority of the population of this country 
are Moslims; for the standing army of the king 
consists of Moslims. They are called al-Larisians 
L^SUi (XAA*.^), and come from Khowarezm; 
whence they emigrated at an early period, after the 
spreading of the Islam ; on account of drought and 
plague which had visited their country. They are 
brave, good soldiers, and form the strength of the 
king of the Khazar in his wars. They fixed certain 
conditions under which they would establish them- 
selves in his country; one of these conditions was, 
that they should be allowed to profess publicly the 
Islam; to build mosques and call out the prayers; 
and that the vizier of the kingdom should be a man 
of their religion and nation. The vizier there is at 
present from amongst them; his name is Ahmed 
Ben Kuwaih &* (J j.j *x^. Another condition is, 
that if the king of the Khazar should have a war 
against the Moslims, they would remain separate in 
his camp, (observe neutrality,) and not fight against 


a nation who profess the same religion; but they 
would fight for him against any other nation. 
There are, at present, seven thousand horsemen 
of theirs, in the army of the king, armed with bows 
and equipped in cuirasses, helmets, and coats of 
mail: he has also some spearsmen. In point of 
arms, they are like the soldiers in Moslim coun- 
tries. Their supreme judges, in religious and civil 
matters, are Moslims. 

In accordance with the constitution of the king- 
dom of the Khazar, there are nine supreme judges in 
the country; two of them for the Moslims; two for the 
Khazars, who follow the laws of the Pentateuch in 
passing sentence ; two for the Christians, who follow 
the laws of the gospel in their decisions ; and one 
for the Sclavonians, Russians, and the other pagan 
population. The pagan judge decides after the 
heathen laws; that is to say, the dictates of reason, 
(not revelation). If any important case comes 
before him, he refers to the Moslim judges, and lets 
them decide after the law of the Islam. 

There is no other king in these parts who has 
paid troops, except the king of the Khazar. Every 
Moslim has there the name Larisian, (although he 
may not be of this nation,) and it is even extended 
to such Russians and Sclavonians as serve in the 
(standing) army or household of the king; although 
they are pagans as we have said*. But there are 


many Moslims in this kingdom besides the Larisi- 
ans; they are artisans, tradespeople, and merchants, 
who have been attracted by the justice and security (of 
persons and property) afforded by the government. 
They have a great public mosque U-f> the Minaret 
of which rises above the royal palace ; and several 
private mosques xsaJlf, where children are in- 
structed in reading the Koran. If the Moslims 
and Christians, who are there, agree, the king has 
no power over them. 

El-Mas'udi says, What we have said does not 
refer to the king of the Khazar himself, but we 
mean the Khakan (jjbA^ (Major domus)-, for there 
is a king in the country of the Khazar, besides the 
Khakan. He is shut up in his palace : he never 
makes a public procession, nor does he show him- 
self to the nobility or the people, and he never 
goes out from his palace. His person is sacred, 
but he has nothing to do with the affairs of the 
state, either to command or forbid. Everything 
is administered by the Khakan for the king, who 
lives with him in the same palace. If a drought, 
or any other misfortune, befals the country of the 
Khazar, or if a war or any other accident happens 
to them, the lower and higher classes of the nation 
run to the king, and say, "The administration of 


tliis Khakan brings misfortune upon us: put him to 
death, or deliver him to us, that we may kill him." 
Sometimes he delivers him to them, and they put 
him to death; at other times he takes charge himself 
of the execution; and sometimes he has pity on 
him, protects him, and sets him free without doing 
him any harm, although he might have deserved it. 
I do not know whether this institution dates from 
ancient times, or whether it has been recently 
introduced. The Khakan is chosen from among 
the nobility * by their chiefs ; but I think that the 
royalty of the present dynasty takes date from a 
remote period. 

The Khazar have boats, with which they go on 
a river, which falls above their city (Itil) into the 
river (Wolga) that runs through their capital (Itil). 

)\ cf iU Ahl bait, or ahl el-boyutdt 
means, I believe, generally persons of family, or the nobility. 
Klaproth and Frsehn differ from my opinion : the latter translates 

the words (^yu* d^ J^l J $\ XxJlXiU <*** $3 
" Dignitas autem non nisi certse alicui families competit," which I 
should have rendered by " To the Khakanship only men of family 
are competent, who have distinguished themselves." With the 
Alites I^IAAJ ^&>\ means the members of the family of Moham- 
med; and thus I ought to have explained it in the note page 52, 
supra. In Persian history, t * AJ'^AJI JjM are the ancient 


On the banks of this river, which has the name of 
Bortas u-U^j, Turks have settled, who form part of 
the kingdom of the Khazar. Their country is well- 
cultivated, and lies between the Khazar and the 
kingdom of the Targhiz (Bulgarians). The river 
(Bortas) comes from the Targhiz (Bulgarians), 
and there is an active navigation carried on be- 
tween the Targhiz and Khazar. Bortas is origi- 
nally the name of a Turkish nation, as we have 
before said, who live on this river, and give to it 
their name. From their country come the furs of 
black and red foxes, which are called the Bortasian 
furs. A black fur of this kind costs one hundred 
dinars, and more; but the red are cheaper. Dresses 
of these furs are worn by the kings of the Arabs 
and the Barbarians ; and they form part of their 
vanity; for they are considered more valuable than 
the furs of sable jye*> herrneline <*&*!!, and the like. 
The kings wear tiaras (j*J&S, khaftans, and robes 
g\j*, of these furs. If kings have their khaftans 
and robes lined with black Bortasian foxs' fur, it is 
excusable (although it is against the divine laws). 

From the upper course of the river of the 
Khazar (Wolga), an arm branches off (the Don), 
that falls into a narrow gulf of the sea, Pontus, 
which is the sea of the Russians ; for no nation, 
excepting the Russians, navigates this sea. They 
are a great nation, living on one of the coasts of 


this sea. They neither have a king nor do they 
acknowledge a positive law (revelation), X*j^. 
Many of them are merchants, and trade with the 
kingdom of the Targhiz. The Russians are in 
possession of great silver mines, which maybe com- 
pared with those in the mountain of Lahjir jsa&y 
(^acuj) in Khorasan. The capital of the Targhiz 
is situated on the coast of the sea Mayotis*. In 
my opinion, this country belongs to the seventh 
climate. The Targhiz are of Turkish origin. Their 
caravans go as far as Khowarezm in Khorasan, and 
from Khowarezm caravans go to them ; but there 
live several wandering hordes of Turkish origin, 
who are distinct from the Targhiz, between these two 
countries which render the road of the caravans 

The present king of the Targhizf [in 332 A.H.] 
is a Moslim. He embraced this religion, in the 
time of el-Moktader Billah after 310 A.H., in con- 
sequence of a vision. His son has made the pil- 

* The town of the Bulgarians, says Klaproth, is situated on 
the Wolga, under the place where it unites with the Kama, and 
not on the Black Sea. El-Mas'udi confounds the Bulgarians 
who live on the Wolga with those on the Danube. So far Klap- 
roth. I think that el-Mas'udi made a distinction, calling the one 
nation Targhiz, and the other Bulgar JfcXjj and that some copy- 
ists wrote in both instances Bulgarians, and others Targhiz. 

f One copy reads Bulgarians, and this name agrees with the 
Byzantine historians. 


grimage (to Mokka), and was at Bagdad. Moktader 
sent him one great and several small standards, and 
presents of money. They have a great public 
mosque. This king has made a holy expedition 
against Constantinople, with about fifty thousand 
horsemen. His predatory corps spread as far as 
the territory of Rome, Spain, the country of Borjan 
^U^j (Burgundy?), Galicia, and France*, which is 
about two months' journey from Constantinople ; 
the intermediate country is partly cultivated and 
partly uncultivated. The Moslims had made a re- 
ligious war from Tarsus, on the Syrian frontier, 
against Jarkendiyah &<xj^*, under the minister f 
Thaml $, the governor of the frontier, who is 
known under the name ed-Daksi ^A^JA!! (^xJAll), 
with the Moslim and Christian { vessels which he 

* X-xr'w^! El-Ifranjah. I suppose this word means the French 
in authors who wrote before the crusades, for the eastern Arabs 
derived their knowledge of Europe from the Moors in Spain, who 
were best acquainted with the French amongst all European na- 
tions, if they were not the only Christian nation beyond the 
Pyrenees of whom they had a precise knowledge. Since the 
Crusades, the word Ifranjah means any European. 

t ..tJliLj means that he had a place in the household of the 
khalif. First, slaves were employed to serve the khalif ; subse- 
quently, they took advantage of the weakness of the sovereign, 
and the menial offices in his household became of more importance 
than right or talent. Thus, Khadim, or servant, became a title 
as minister with us. 

J One copy reads xjljj^ (.jytu^U ^S\^ 9 "The Mos- 


commanded, in A. H. 312; they passed through 
the strait of Constantinople and entered a gulf of 
the Mediterranean, which has no communication 
with any other sea, and then they came into the 
country of Jarkendiyah. On land they met a num- 
ber of Targhiz who came to their aid ; and they said 
that their king was not far off. This proves what 
we have said, that the Targhiz had extended their 
military expeditions as far as the Mediterranean. 
Some went with the Moslims on board the Tarsian 
vessels, and came to Tarsus. 

The Targhiz (Bulgarians) are a great and power- 
ful nation : they are brave and have subjected their 
neighbours; and one horseman of theirs, who has 
turned Moslim,to the number of which belongs the 
king, can oppose three other horsemen and two 
hundred unbelievers. The inhabitants of Constan- 
tinople are not able to defend themselves against 
them, excepting by their walls; the same is the 
case with other districts in that neighbourhood ; 
their only protection are their fortresses and walls. 

The night is exceedingly short in the country of 
the Bulgarians all the year round; some believe 
that a Bulgarian cannot boil (meat in) his kettle 

lim and 'Omanian vessels ;" and another ^ juyoLUi t-f]^ 
/.yAJj^AjJ " the Syrian and Basrian vessels." As they could 
not bring the vessels from the Persian Gulf into the Mediterra- 
nean, I read the last word 


before the morning comes. We have explained the 
reason of this phenomenon in our former books, as 
depending upon the spherical form (of the earth); 
we have also said, that the night lasts in some 
parts of the world six months without interruption ; 
and then again, that they have six months' day, 
and no night. This is about (the time when the 
sun is in) capricornus cf<x^. The reasons which 
are connected with the spherical form (of the earth) 
are also stated by the authors of the astronomical 

The Russians cr^t consist of several different 
nations and distinct hordes ; one is called *Ate^JM 
(*>l*jjXJ() (Lithuanians?). They go on their mer- 
cantile business as far as Spain, Rome, Constan- 
tinople, and the Khazar. After the year 300, they 
had five hundred ships, every one of which had one 
hundred men on board : they passed up the estuary 
(of the Don) which opens into the Pontus, and is in 
communication with the river of the Khazar 
(Wolga). The king of the Khazar keeps a garrison 
on this side the estuary, with efficient warlike 
equipments to exclude any other power from this 
passage, and to prevent them from occupying, by 
land, that branch of the river of the Khazar 
which stands in connection with the Pontus ; for 
the Nomadic Turks, who are the Ghozz yai, try 
frequently to winter there. Sometimes the water 


(the Don) which connects the river of the Khazar 
(Wolga) with the above-mentioned estuary is frozen, 
and the Ghozz cross it with their horses, for although 
it is a great water, the ice does not break under them. 
The king of the Khazar himself frequently takes 
the field against them, if his garrison is too weak 
to drive them back, and he prevents them from 
going over the ice, thus defending his dominions. It 
is impossible for the Turks to cross the river 
in summer. 

When the Russian vessels came to the garrison, 
on the entrance of the estuary, they sent to the 
king of the Khazar to ask his permission to pass 
through his dominions, to go down his river, and 
enter into the sea of the Khazar, which is the sea 
of Jorjan, Taberistan, and of other places of the 
Barbarians ^U^t as we have stated, promising 
him half the plunder which they should make from 
the nations who live on the coast of this sea. He 
gave them leave. They entered the estuary, and, 
continuing their voyage up the river (Don) , as far 
as the river of the Khazar (Wolga), they went 
down this river, passed the town of Itil, and 
entered through its mouth into the sea of the 
Khazar. This is a very large and deep river. By 
these means the Russians came into this sea, and 
spread their predatory excursions over el-Jil, ed- 
Dailem, Taberistan, Aboskun, which is the name 
for the coast of Jorjan, the Naphtha Country 

2 E 


uIl, and towards Aderbijan, the town of Ardobil 
J.AJ^J which is in Aderbijan, and about three days' 
journey from this sea. They shed blood, plundered 
property, made children prisoners, and sent out 
predatory and incendiary corps in all directions. 
The inhabitants of the coasts of this sea were 
thrown into consternation, for they had never had 
to contend with an enemy from these quarters ; for 
the sea had only been frequented by peaceful traders 
and fishing-boats. They had been at war with 
el-Jil, ed-Dailem, and the leader of the forces of 
Ibn Abi-s-Saj ^L? g] ^>\, but with no other 
nation. The Russians landed on the coast of the 
Naphtha Country, which is called Babikah XLL 
(Baku), and belongs to the kingdom of Sharwan- 
Shah. On their return from the coast, the Russians 
landed in the islands which are near the Naphtha 
Country, being only a few miles distant from it. 
The king of Sharwan was then 'Ali Ben el-Haithem. 
As the merchants sailed in boats and vessels in 
pursuit of their commercial business to those islands, 
the Russians attacked them ; thousands of Moslims 
perished, and were partly put to the sword, partly 
drowned. The Russians remained several months 
in this sea, as we have before said. The nations 
on the coast had no means of repelling them, although 
they made warlike preparations and put themselves 
in a state of defence, for the inhabitants of the 


coasts on this sea are well civilized. When they 
had made booty and captives, they sailed to the 
mouths of the river of the Khazar (Wolga), and 
sent messengers with money and booty to the king, 
in conformity with the stipulations which they had 
made. The king of the Khazar has no ships on 
this sea, for the Khazar are no sailors; if they were, 
they would be of the greatest danger to the Moslims. 
The Larisians * and other Moslims in the country 
of the Khazar heard of the conduct of the Rus- 
sians, and they said to their king: " The Russians 
have invaded the country of our Moslim brothers ; 
they have shed their blood and made their wives 
and children captives, as they were unable to resist ; 
permit us to oppose them." As the king was not 
able to keep them quiet, he sent messengers to 
the Russians, informing them that the Moslims 
intended to attack them. The Moslims took the 
field and marched against them, going down the 
banks of the river. When both parties saw each 
other, the Russians left their vessels and formed 
their battle array opposite the Moslims. In the 
ranks of the latter were many Christians of Itil 
ys\. The number of the Moslim army was about 

AM,Jl al-Larisiah, or Allaris, for the syllable iah expresses 
sometimes the plural; they are the Alares of the middle ages, 
as Klaproth correctly supposes. 

2 E 2 


fifteen thousand men, provided with horses and 
equipments. They fought three days, and God 
gave victory to the Moslims: they put the Russians 
to the sword, others were drowned, and only five 
thousand escaped ; who sailed (first) along the bank 
of the river, on which Bortas* is situated; (then) 
they left their vessels and proceeded by land. Some 
of them were slain by the inhabitants of Bortas, and 
others came into the country of Targhiz, where they 
fell under the sword of the Moslims. There were 
about thirty thousand dead counted on the banks 
of the river of the Khazar. The Russians did not 
make a similar attempt after that year. 

El-Mas'udi says, we have related this fact in 
proof (of our statement that the Black sea and 
Caspian are separated) against those who maintain 
that the sea of the Khazar is connected with the sea 
Mayotis and the strait of Constantinople, through 
the Mayotis or Pontus ; for if this was the case, the 
Russians would have made their voyage by this way, 
being the masters of the Black sea, as we have 
said. Besides, the merchants of all the nations 
who live near this sea state, unanimously, that the 
sea of the Barbarians ^U^ has no strait by which 
it is connected with any other sea ; and as this 
sea is but small, it can be known in its whole ex- 

* One copy reads Autas 


tent. The history of the Russian ships, which we 
have related, is generally known amongst all nations 
who live there. I have forgotten the exact date of 
their expedition, but it happened after 300 A. H. 
Perhaps those who maintain that the sea of the 
Khazar is connected with the strait of Constanti- 
nople mean, under the sea of the Khazar, the sea 
Mayotis, and the Pontus, which is the sea of the 
Targhiz and Russians ; God knows how this is. 

The coast of Taberistan extends along this sea 
(the Caspian) , and there is the town called es-Samer 
^**J\ (*jdO> which is a seaport, and one hour of the 
day from the town of Itil. On the coast of Jorjan 
is the town Aboskun*, about three days' journey 
from (the town of) Jorjan. On this sea are also 
el-Jil and ed-Dailem. There is a constant naviga- 
tion carried oa between the above-mentioned towns 
and Itil. They go up the river [Wolga] as far as 
Itil; they sail also to Bakah (Baku) XTL, which 
yields white and other naphtha ; white naphtha is 
found no where on earth but there. Baku lies 
on the south of the kingdom of Sharwan. In this 
naphtha country is a crater (chimney) from which 
fire issues perpetually, throwing up a high flame. 
Opposite this coast are several islands : one of them 
is three days distant, in which there is a great vol- 

* All MSS. write this name invariably 


cano which often throws out fire, at all seasons 
of the year. The fire rises like a high mountain 
in the air, and its light spreads over the greater part 
of the sea, so that it is seen at a distance of one 
hundred farsangs. This volcano is like el-Borkan 
(jo^j-jJJ in Sicily, which is between the country of 
the Franks and Afrikiyah. There is no volcano on 
earth which makes a greater noise, nor any the 
smoke of which is more black, or the flames more 
copious, than that which is in the kingdom of the 
Maharaj. Next comes the volcano of Barahiit 
yt^j, which is not far from Asfar and Hadhramaut, 
in the country of esh-Shihr, which is in the province 
of Yemen and 'Oman. The noise is heard like 
thunder at a distance of several miles, and it throws 
live coals up from its depth like mountains, and 
pieces of black rock which rise so high in the air 
that they can be seen at many miles' distance; then 
they fall down again, partly into the crater, and 
partly round it. The live coals which are thrown 
out are stones which have become red by the par- 
ticles of heat which they have absorbed. We have 
explained the cause which produces volcanoes 
(springs of fire) in our Akhbar ez-zeman. 

In this sea are islands opposite the coast of 
Jorjan, where a sort of white falcons *!j.j are caught. 
These falcons are soon made tame ; and one has 
little to fear that they will associate (with the wild 


birds) ; but they are rather weak, for the sports- 
men who catch them in these islands feed them with 
fish; and, if any other food is given to them, they 
become reduced in strength. Men who distinguish 
themselves by their knowledge of falconry ^j\yd\9 
and of the different sorts of rapacious birds which 
have been employed for the same purpose, among 
the Persians,, Turks,, Byzantines, Hindus, and Arabs, 
say, that falcons of a white colour are the quickest 
and handsomest ; that they have the best shape and 
chest; and that they are soonest tamed, and the 
strongest of all falcons to rise in the air ; that they 
have the longest breath, and fly furthest, for they 
are very light and spirited*, and they have a hotter 
temper than any other species of falcons. The dif- 
ference of colour depends upon the difference of 
climate. Hence, they are of a pure white in Ar- 
menia, in the country of the Khazar, in Jorjan, 
and the neighbouring countries of the Turks, on 
account of the great fall of snow in those climates. 
A sage of the Khakans (J ^^\^ 9 or kings of 
the Turks, to whom all other kings of the Turks 
pay submission, says, " When the falcons of our 
country bring out their young from the nest into 
the open field, they rise in the air till they come to 
a cold and dense atmosphere, where there are insects 

* Literally? " there are parts of warmth in them." 


with which they feed them ; this soon makes them 
strong, and they learn to use their wings and to fly 
high to find their food. Some times fragments of 
those insects are found in the nests of falcons." 
According to Galen's classification, the air is warm 
and moist ; so that the cold of the air is owing to 
the intenseness of winds which rise. The air is not 
without beings which inhabit it. Balinas cr-U^L 
(tjAolJb)* (Pliny) says, " Since in these two ele- 
ments, viz., earth and water, are beings and inhabit- 
ants, the two upper elements, i.e., air and fire, must 
also have beings and inhabitants." 

I have found in some anecdotes of er-Rashid, 
that he went out hunting one day in the country 
near el-Mausil, with a white falcon on his hand. 

* This author is in the Royal Library at Paris. I shall have an 
opportunity of inserting the leading points of the contents of this 
curious and very philosophical book in another volume. M. De 
Sacy supposes, that the word is a corruption of Apollonius ; this, 
however, seems not to be well founded. There are many instances 
in which the Arabs put an \ at the beginning of foreign names; but 
perhaps, none where they omit it. Dr. Nicolls found this author 
quoted in a MS. of the Bodl. Library (see Catal. Bill. Bodl). 
In a geographical work in the British Museum, which was 
composed under Mo'tadhed, he has the surname ^vcjJJ the 
Roman, and is said to have constructed talismans. It seems that 
the fame of the Latin naturalist penetrated to the Arabs, but as 
they had no translation of his works, they connected marvels with 
his name, and put it on the head of their own compositions. 


The bird became uneasy on his hand, and he let 
it off: it rose in the air till it disappeared from 
his eyes. After he had despaired of seeing it 
again, he perceived it with an insect, which was 
like a serpent, or a fish, with wings like the fins of 
a fish. Er-Rashid had it put on a plate; and, when 
he had returned from his sport, he called learned 
men, and asked them whether they were aware of 
a being living in the air. " O, Commander of 
the Faithful," answered Mokatil JJUU, " a tradition 
of thy ancestor 'Abdullah Ben el-'Abbas informs 
us, that the air is inhabited by people f\ of different 
forms; and nearer to us than these people live 
white insects, which breed in the air, being kept 
aloof by the thicker atmosphere. They grow to 
the shape of a serpent, or a fish, with wings ; they 
have, however, no feathers. These insects are 
caught by the white falcons, which live in Arme- 
nia." The Khalif produced the plate, showed the 
insect, and made rich presents to Mokatil. 

Some good observers have told me in Egypt 
and other countries, that they have seen white ser- 
pents in the air, which moved from one place to 
another with a celerity that was equal to lightning; 
that they fell sometimes upon an animal on the 
earth and killed it; that they are sometimes heard 
flying by night ; and that their locomotion in 
the air is accompanied with a noise like that which 
is produced when a new cloth is unfolded. Persons 

426 EL-MAs'uni's MEADOWS OF GOLD, 

who have no knowledge of this subject, or other 
women (superstitious and ignorant persons), are 
frequently heard saying, that this sound proceeds 
from witches, who fly on wings of quills through 
the air. Various opinions have been stated on these 
topics ; and such proofs have been adduced of the 
existence of animals in the two (upper) elements, 
as leave no doubt that animals are generated and 
grown in the two light elements, which are air and 
fire, as there are generated and grown in the two 
denser elements, earth and water. 

El-Mas'fidi says, the sages and kings have 
described the falcons, and dilated on their praise. 
The Khakan, or king of the Turks, says, " The 
falcon is courageous and well-behaved." Kisra 
Anusharwan praises this bird in these words: " He 
is active and watchful, and he seizes the opportunity 
when he can." The Csesar says, " The falcon is a 
noble king ; when he is in need he takes, and when 
it is expedient he relinquishes." The philosophers 
speak thus of the falcon: " You may expect that a 
falcon will pursue his prey with great velocity, 
attack it powerfully, and fly very high, if he have 
long legs and a wide chest ; for this is a sign of 
strength, and that he is light and quick. You will 
observe in birds of prey, that their strength is in 
proportion to the width of their chest, whereas 
their velocity and skill in turning round (in vertical 
motion) are in proportion to the length of their 


legs and the compactness of their bodies ; for the 
strength of the falcon is reduced if the wings are 
short, and the body thin (delicate) ; but if they are 
too long he is rendered weak and soon fatigued. 
Birds of prey cannot overtake any other birds than 
such as have short legs, and you will find that the 
strength of woodcocks, quails,, and partridges, is 
in an inverse proportion to the length of their 

Arsijanis says, the falcon is a rapacious bird, 
but he is not provided with any sort of protection 
by nature; his strength consists in the slenderness 
(of the hind part of his body and the length) of his 
feet; and although he is the weakest of all birds in 
body, he is the most courageous, for he possesses a 
degree of heat which is not found in other birds. 
We found that his chest consists of a tendinous 
texture, and is not swelled with flesh. The words 
of Arsijanis are confirmed by Galen. The former 
author says further, that the falcon builds his nest 
on trees of thorns, which he puts together at differ- 
ent intervals; and he protects himself by these 
means against heat and cold. If he is breeding he 
builds for himself a house (nest), with a roof that 
shuts out rain and snow, that he may be comfort- 
able and protected against cold. 

Adham Ben Mohriz j^sz ^j f&&\ says, that 
the first who amused himself with birds of prey was 
el-Hareth Ben Mo'awiyah Ben Thaur, who was the 


father of Kindah ^ 
>*r. He went out one day sporting, and laid 
snares for sparrows (small birds). An akdar bird 
^^n fell upon one of the sparrows, which had already 
been caught in the snares. Akdar ^\ has the same 
meaning as Sakr* jLa, and is also called the Ajdal 
J<>c.3!. He ate the sparrow although he was him- 
self caught. The king, surprised at his devouring 
the sparrow, although his wings were broken, shut 
him up in a large cage, and he saw that he was 
quiet, and that he did not make any efforts to 
escape. If food was given to him he ate it ; if he 
saw meat he jumped on the hands of his master; 
and he became so tame that he did what was said to 
him, that he ate from the hand, and was carried 
unconfined. One day he saw a dove ; he flew 
after it, from the hand of his master, and caught 
it. The king ordered therefore to use the falcon 
for hunting. One day when the king was going 
with the falcon and saw a hare, the falcon flew upon 
the hare and took it. The king used it therefore for 
sporting and killing birds and hares. Since this 
time falcons have been employed amongst the 
Arabs, and their use became more general. 

Arsijanis y^JUzv^l the philosopher, relates res- 

* This is a species of hawk. Baron v. Hammer- Purgstall 
(Falkner-Klee) renders this name in German by Sakerfalke. 


pecting the hawks ^/jMyLM, in his book which the 
Byzantine emperor, who had the name Nisban(?) 
^UMU (^U*A*), sent to el-Mahdi as a present from 
his country, that is to say, the Byzantine dominions, 
one day a hawk ^M-* descended upon a water-fowl 
and caught it ; then he rose in the air and repeated 
the same movements several times. The king said, 
" This is a sporting bird; he has shown his skill in 
flying down on the water-fowl, and this makes him 
fit for sporting; and he has shown us his quickness 
in rising in the air, which speaks for his agility." 
He was surprised when he saw how well he could 
turn round (in vertical motion), and was the first 
who used hawks ^/jfc^-* for sporting. 

Sa'id Ben 'Ofair ( j*s) j>* ^^t V~> relates, 
on the authority of Hashim Ben Khadij ^U 
^.Xi. QJ.J QM*U), that Constantine, the king of 
Amariyah, went out sporting with a falcon, and 
came as far as the strait of the Pont us, which joins 
this sea with the Mediterranean. He crossed it, 
and went to the plains between the strait and the 
sea. Seeing a hawk persecuting a water-fowl, he 
admired him for his quickness, violence, and cou- 
rage, in pursuing his prey, and he ordered him to be 
caught and tamed ; and he was the first who used 
kawks. Observing that the meadow was extensive, 
and covered with flowers of different colours, he 
said, this is a strong place, between the sea and a 


river (the strait), and fit for a town: and this in- 
duced him to build Constantinople. 

We shall relate the history of Constantine, the 
son of Helena,, who made the Christian religion vic- 
torious, in the chapter which treats on the history 
of the Byzantines. This is one version of the his- 
tory of the construction of Constantinople. 

Ibn 'Ofair relates, upon the authority of Abu 
Yezid el-Fehri cs^\ Jo ^j #\ (V?.?Ji Joj ^\) 9 that 
it was the usage with the Lodriks A^jJlH, of Spain, 
that the king had hawks flying over the army, and 
over the cavalcade, whenever he went out on an 
expedition, or in procession. The birds were 
taught to fly sometimes high and sometimes low; 
so they went on till he took his quarters ; then they 
sat round him. One day one of their kings set 
out ; the hawks were with him, in the described 
manner, and one of them pursued and caught some 
birds which flew up. This induced the king to dress 
them for sporting; and he was the first who used 
them for this purpose in the Maghrib and in Spain. 

El-Mas'udi says, it is the account of many 
persons who are well- versed in this subject, that the 
inhabitants of the Maghrib were the first who 
amused themselves with vultures ^1>J^. When 
the Byzantines (Romans) observed the robust con- 
stitution of their body and the abundance of their 
excrements l^-ob!? their wise men said no bird 


is more fit for mischief than this. It is related that 
the emperor sent a vulture to the Kisra, and wrote 
him, that he was more efficient than the falcon 
uaM, with the sport of which he was so delighted. 
The Kisra ordered him to be set against a wild buck 
csvk, and the bird got the better of him, notwith- 
standing his resistance. The Kisra returned, full 
of joy, from this sight. When he hungered him 
for sporting, the bird fell upon a boy, and killed 
him. The Kisra said, " The emperor deprives us 
of our children without an army." The Kisra pre- 
sented the emperor in return with an eagle, and 
wrote to him that he had killed wild bucks, and 
similar animals ; but he did not mention that the 
vulture had killed a boy. The emperor admired 
the eagle, which was like a hyena *x$3; but as he 
was not on his guard, several boys were torn to 
pieces by the bird. The emperor said, " The 
Kisra takes us for his game; but, since we have 
made a game of him, it does no harm." 

In speaking of the sea of Jorjan and its islands, 
we went beyond our limits, and treated on the 
different sorts of birds of prey ; we shall give a 
summary account of the falcons, and how many 
different species of birds of prey there exist, in the 
chapter on the Byzantine kings. Now we return 
to our account of Bab el-Abwab, and the nations 
which live in the neighbourhood of this wall, and of 
the Caucasus. 


We have already stated, that the population of 
Haidan is one of the worst nations near Bab el- 
Abwab ; their king is a Mohammedan, and con- 
siders himself as descended from Kahlan. His 
children and his household are the only Moslims 
in all his dominions. The name of the present 
[332 A.H.] king is Salman* j,UL* (^IxXA-j) ; and 
I believe this is the title of every king of this 
country. Between the kingdom of Khaidan 

- O ,- 

(^U/^ (Hai'dan) and Bab el-Abwab, is a Moham- 
medan population of Arabian origin f who speak 
only Arabic. They live in villages situated in 
forests, jungles, valleys, and on large rivers. They 
have been there since the time when the country 
was conquered by them. Although their country 
is on the frontier of the kingdom of Haidan, they 
are independent ; for it is inaccessible on account 
of its forests and rivers. The distance from the 
town of Bab el-Abwab to this country, is only 
three miles. The inhabitants of Bab el-Abwab 
call them sometimes to their aid. 

On the frontiers of the kingdom of Haidan, 

* This, observes M. Klaproth, is probably a fault instead of 
ioi Shamgal, which is, to this day, the title of the prince of 
Kormik, who resides at Tarkhu. 

f These Arabs live to this day in the neighbourhood of 
Sharwan as nomades. See Klaproth. 


towards the Caucasus and the wall, is a king called 
Birzoban j,L^j, he is a Moslim, and the name of 
his country is el-Karaj g^tfi. The inhabitants are 
armed with clubs. Birzoban is the title of every 
king who rules over this country. 

Next to the Birzoban is a nation called 
Ghumik < **$ (< 5u*e). They are Christians, and 
have no king, but chieftains, who are on friendly 
terms with el-Lan. Next to them, towards the 
wall and the mountain is the kingdom of Zarikeran 
6b^d;!> which means " coat of mail manufactory," 
for most of the inhabitants are employed in making 
coats of mail, stirrups, bridles, swords, and similar 
instruments of iron. They have various religions; 
some are Moslims, others are Jews and Christians. 
Their country is very rough and inaccessible to the 
neighbouring nations. Beyond them are the do- 
minions of Filan Shah *U> ^^/J, who is a Christian; 
and, as we have already stated, he is descended from 
Behram Gur. He has the name of king of the 
Serir (throne), for Yezdejerd, the last of the Sasa- 
nian kings,, sent, when he took flight, his throne of 
gold and his treasures, with one of the descendants 
of Behram Gur, to this country, and there they 
were preserved till his death; for Yezdejerd went to 
Khorasan, where he was killed during the khalifat 
of 'Othman, as we have related in this book and in 
our other works. They remained in this coun- 

2 F 


try; he made himself master of it, and his succes- 
sors have therefore the name Sahib es-Serir* to this 
day. The capital of this king is called Khomikhf 
j**- Twelve thousand villages obey him, and 
it is in his choice to make any of their inhabitants 
slaves. His country is rough, and therefore well 
protected against any invasion ; it occupies a valley 
of the Caucasus. He some times overruns the 
country of the Khazar, for they live in plains, and 
he in mountains. 

Next to this kingdom comes the kingdom of el- 
Lan, the king of which has the name of el-Ker- 
kendaj ^\^S^\ (^jarjJft), which is a general 
title for all kings of this country, as Filan-Shah is 
the title of all kings of es-Serir. The capital of 
el-Lan is Ma's oax^ (<_,***>), which means " obser- 
vation of religion," 2wLx He has several magnifi- 
cent palaces, besides his residence in the capital, in 
which he occasionally resides. He is related to the 
king of es-Serir, one having married the sister of 
the other. The kings of el-Lan embraced, after the 
rise of the Islam, during the 'Abbaside dynasty, the 

* Serir is evidently the name of the nation, who are probably 
the same as the Serri of Pliny, (lib. vi., cap. 5,) who wrote 
nearly six hundred years before Yezdejerd. As Serlr happens 
to mean throne in Arabic, the above fable was invented. 

f Klaproth's MS. reads Homraj ; he identifies therefore this 
town with Humry, in the territory of the Uzmei of the Kaitak, 
now called Kavah Kend. 


Christian religion ; previously they were Pagans ; 
and after 320 A. H., they returned to their former 
faith, giving up Christianity, and expelling the 
bishops and priests who had been sent to them by 
the Byzantine emperor. 

Between the kingdom of el-Lan and the Cau- 
casus is a fortress, and a bridge over a large river. 
The fortress has the name of Kal'ah Bab el-Lan (the 
citadel of the Alan gate or pass), and was built by a 
king of the first Persian dynasty, called Isfendiar. He 
placed there a garrison, to prevent the Alans from 
entering the Caucasus ; for no other road leads 
there but that which goes over this bridge, which is 
commanded by the castle. It is built on live rock^ 
which renders it impregnable, and it is impossible 
to cross the bridge, if opposed by the garrison. 
This castle, which stands on the summit of the 
rock, has a spring of fresh water in its centre. 
This is one of the most famous fortresses on earth, 
both for its strength and for the historical recol- 
lections which are connected with it, and related by 
Persian poets, who describe its construction by 

Isfendiar had many wars with various nations 
of the eastern countries: he marched to the country 
of the Turks, and destroyed the city of es-Safr 
^ju^JI, which was very extensive, fortified by nature, 
and considered as impregnable ; so that it had be- 
come proverbial with the Persians. The exploits 

2 F 2 


of Isfendiar, and the details which we have given, 
are related in the book y^X**!! i^UT (^xCuJl or 
LtAxJI or (5V&JJ1), which has been translated by 
Ibn el-Mokaffa' into Arabic. When Moslemah 
Ben 'Abd el-Melik Ben Merwan penetrated to those 
countries, he settled some Arabs in this fortress, 
after he had made peace with the nations, whose 
posterity defend the place to this day. Sometimes 
they receive their provisions from the plains which 
are near Tiflis. This town is five long days' jour- 
ney distant from this fortress. One man can op- 
pose all the unbelieving kings, in this castle, so 
advantageous is its commanding position, it being 
(as it were) suspended in the air, over the bridge 
and valley. 

The king of the Alans * musters thirty thousand 
brave and stong horsemen: this force gives him 
the supremacy over other kings. The cultivation 
of his kingdom is uninterrupted, so that when the 
cock crows, he is answered in the whole of his 
dominions, the country being all covered with inha- 
bitants and cultivation. 

Next to the Alans live a nation called Kashak 
^S: their country extends from the Caucasus to 
the Mediterranean ^\ ^sr. They are a great 
nation, and follow the Magian religion. They are, 
among all the nations whom we have mentioned, 

* One copy reads, the king of es-Serir. 


the cleanest, and the most handsome in their ap- 
pearance, both men and women. They have good 
persons, are slender round the waist,, have well- 
shaped hips, and are of a comely form. The Kashak 
women are celebrated for their charms. They dress 
in white, in Greek brocade ^^ ^UjjJJ, in cloth 
of scarlet ^^k&JLJ! colour, and other sorts of 
cloth, as gilt brocade. In their country various 
sorts of cloths are manufactured of hemp and other 
materials: one sort is called et-Talli cloth ^XkJI 
(jUl): it is finer than damask (silk) <j^.jx!!, and 

stouter than (our) hemp cloth JulT (<xT). One piece 
of this sort of cloth costs about ten dinars; and is 
exported to the neighbouring Moslim countries. 
The same cloth is exported from other nations, who 
live near the Kashak ; but the best comes from them. 

The Alans are much stronger than this nation., 
and they cannot maintain their independency, 
except by fortifying themselves against the Alans 
in the citadel which they have erected on the sea 
coast. There is some controversy respecting the 
sea on which they live ; some take it for the 
Mediterranean, whilst others consider it to be the 
Pontus. I have only to observe, that their sea is 
not far from the country of Trebizond, and that a 
constant navigation and trade are kept up between 
them and this city. 

The reason why they are too weak to oppose 


the Alans is, that their power is not concentrated 
under one king. If they were united, neither the 
Alans nor any other nation would have power over 
them. The word kashak is Persian, and means 
pride &*jil\ and arrogance c^X^St, for a person who 
has these two qualities is called JiS in Persian. 

Next to this nation comes another, the country 
of which is called the Seven Lands * ^taXj x*JI, 
and lies on the sea. They form a large and power- 
ful nation, who are in possession of an extensive 
country. I know nothing respecting their religion 
and government. On the Seven Lands border a 
large nation,, who are separated from the Kashak 
by a great river which falls into the Mediterranean, 
or into the sea Mayotis. On this river live nu- 
merous hordes, of a nation of the name of Irem 
-j\ (fttl)' They are Pagans, and strange looking 
people. There is a curious story related of fish 
which come every year to this country. They cut 
flesh off from them. When they come back the 
next year, the flesh has grown again, and they cut it 
off from the other side. This story is well known 
amongst the unbelievers of that country f. 

* The German name for Transylvania Siebenbiirgen has 
nearly the same meaning, but is not as ancient as el-Mas'udi. 

f Klaproth remarks, that the inhabitants of the coast of the 
Caspian, on the mouth of the Korr, cut the eggs out from the 
belly of the fish for caviar, and throw the fish back into the 


Not far from this country is another between 
four high and inaccessible mountains, which include 
a plain of nearly one hundred miles. In the centre 
of this plain is a circle, as exact as if it had been 
marked out with compasses J^ 9 in solid stone. 
The circuit is formed by a complete ring hewn in 
stone, which is fifty miles in circumference. The 
pieces [of rock by which this ring is formed] go 
vertically down like a wall which is raised from be- 
low upwards, two miles high.* These rocks render 
it impossible to go within the inclosure. By night, 
you see many lights in it in different places ; and 
by day, you discover villages, cultivated grounds, 
rivers which water those villages, men, and cattle f; 
but every thing appears little, on account of the 
height from which you look down. Nobody knows 
what nation they are, for they are unable to climb 

' r 

f A similar story is related in Abul-ghazi Khan, who fol- 
lowed Mongolish traditions. It seems, therefore, to be a widely 
spread tradition of Central Asia. Perhaps such places were se- 
cluded from the world to give to them, and those who inhabit them, 
through remoteness, a degree of sacredness. Any one who has 
passed the dreary and solitary plains extending many miles round 
Stonehenge, a sacred place of the Druids, near Salisbury, must be 
struck with this idea. Perhaps a comparison might be drawn, 
and even an affinity and connexion might be discovered, between 
those Tatar places of worship and the sacred forests of the 


up (the surrounding mountains from within), and no 
one who ascends to the top (from without) can go 
down to them. 

Behind these four mountains on the sea coast 
is another ring near the precipice ; in it are forests 
and jungles, which are inhabited by a sort of mon- 
keys who have an erect stature and round face ; they 
are exceedingly like men, but they are all covered 
with hair. Sometimes it happens that they are 
caught. They show very great intelligence and 
docility; but they are deprived of speech, by which 
they could express themselves, although they un- 
derstand* what is spoken. But they express them- 
selves by signs. Sometimes they are brought to the 
kings of those nations, and they are taught to stand 
by them and to taste what is on their table ; for the 
monkeys have the peculiar quality of knowing if 
poison is in food or drink. Some part of the food 
is given to the monkey who smells it, and, if he 
eats of it, the king eats: but, if not, he knows 
that it contains poison. The same is the practice 
of most Chinese and Hindu sovereigns. We have 
given in this book an account of the Chinese 
embassies which came to el-Mahdi ; and we related 
what they said of the use which their kings make of 
monkeys for tasting their food. We have also 

* One copy reads that they do not understand what is spoken. 


mentioned the tale of the monkeys in Yemen, and 
of the plate of iron on which Solaiman Ben Dawud 
wrote a treaty to the monkeys of Yemen; and of 
the governor of Mo'awiyah Ben Abi Sofyan, who 
wrote a document respecting them: and we have 
given the description of the great monkey who had 
a table on his neck. 

There are no monkeys on earth who are so clever 
and mischievous as this species. Monkeys live in 
warm climates, as in Nubia, and in the most northern 
part of Abyssinia, on the banks of the upper course 
of the Nile. They are called Nubian monkeys, and 
are of a diminutive size, have little faces, and their 
body is as black as pitch, as the Nubians themselves 
are. This is the species which the monkey men 
j^jjXH have. They mount on a spear and go 
through their exercises on the top of it. Another 
species of monkeys are in the northern regions, 
forests, and jungles, in the country of the Sclavo- 
nians and of other nations, of which we have said, 
that they approach in their appearance, to the figure 
of man. Monkeys are also found on the coasts of 
the straits of el-Zanij, in the Chinese sea, and in 
the dominions of the Maharaj, who, as we have al- 
ready said, is king of the islands opposite the king- 
dom of China, being situated between the kingdom 
of el-Ballahra and China. The monkeys of those 
countries are very numerous, and famous for the 
perfection of their figure. From thence monkeys 


and serpents were brought to el-Moktader, They 
were in long chains, and some of the monkeys had 
beards and long whiskers ; some were young, and 
others old. The present was accompanied by many 
other curiosities of the sea ; they were brought by 
Ahmed Ben Hilal j^fc ^j <x^!, who was then 
governor of 'Oman. These monkeys are very well 
known to the sailors of Siraf and 'Oman, who 
trade with the countries of Kolah and ez-Zanij ; 
they are also acquainted with the way of hunting 
the crocodiles (alligators), which live at the bottom 
of the water. El-Jahit believes they are only found 
in the Nile of Egypt, and in the river Mihran of 
es-Sind. We have related what is said on this sub- 
ject, and where crocodiles are found, in the previous 
pages of this book. In many places of Yemen, the 
traveller is not able to fight his way through the 
monkeys, they are so numerous; so, for instance, 
in the valley of Nakhlah aXis? <ss\j, which is between 
el-Jenned and Zabid, which is now [332 A.H.] under 
Ibrahim Ben Ziyad *L>) ^j ft*jri> the governor 
of el-Harmali JU^J.1. This valley is one day's 
journey, or more, from Zabid. It is well cultivated, 
and has abundance of flowing water and musa trees 
^JU. It is surrounded by two mountains. The 
monkeys form there two corps; each is lead by a 
Hazr j,yfc (jj&\ which means a male monkey, who 
is distinguished by his superior size and virility, 


and who is the leader of the rest. A she ape gives 
birth to a dozen young monkeys at once, as the 
sow brings forth many 'pigs. Some of the young 
monkeys are nursed and carried by the mother just 
as women carry their children, and the male takes 
care of the rest. They have parties and meetings, 
which are numerously attended. There you may hear 
them speechify, and discuss matters. The female 
monkeys chatter like women, when they are alone. 
If a man hears their conversation and does not see 
them, in those mountains, in musa and other trees, 
and by night, he has no suspicion but that they are 
human beings. The monkeys of Yemen are the 
wildest, most mischievous, and have the greatest 
docility. The Yemenites call the monkeys ^yi- 
The male and female animal have long ringlets of 
hair flowing over their shoulders, which are as black 
as possible. When they meet, they sit according to 
their rank, after their leader; and they imitate man 
in all their doings. 

In the valleys, plains, and mountains at Marib, 
which is between the country of San'a and the castle 
of Kahlan ^^T **Xi', the monkeys are so numerous, 
that they may be compared with clouds. 

Kahlan ^%r is one of the fortresses of Yemen, 
where now As'ad Ben Ya'fur jy.*.* ^> <x**~t 
(yL*j), the king of Yemen, lives; separated from 
society, only with his court. This king is a rem- 


nant of the Himyarite sovereigns, and has an army 
of about fifty thousand men, infantry and cavalry, 
in pay. They receive their pay every month at a 
fixed time, which is called XJ^JM*. They assemble 
here, and then they return into the Mikhalif of that 
country: Mikhalif means fortresses &xM cjl^L^OL^t- 

This prince had wars in Yemen with the Kar- 
matians, and the Lord of the Zanj J, who was 'Ali 
Ben el-Fadhl >UM ^ JL*, after 270 A.H.- 'Ali 
acted a great part in Yemen until he was killed: 
then Yemen surrendered to As'ad. 

The monkeys are in several places of Yemen, 
and in other regions of the earth, which we forbear 
to mention; for we have explained the reason why 

* JyS means to encamp and to quarter. They were pro- 
bably drawn up in review when they received their pay : 
XJyJi would therefore mean here, the being drawn up. 

f 1 o&sS plural cjUJl^j means, with other Arabic authors, 
a district of Yemen, of which there were seventy-two or seventy- 
three. Some of the names of these districts are found in Johann- 
sen (Hist. Jemanae, p. 34) ; but the list of all of them is in Ibn 
Khordadbeh's Geography (MS. of the Bodleian Library). This 
passage of el-Mas'udl's leads us to suppose that in every such 
district was a fortress, inhabited, as one may presume, by one of 
the Abna ^Uj^J or chiefs of the Persian expedition, which con- 
quered the country under Anusharwan, and introduced a sort of 
feudal system as it would appear. 

The MSS. read S^U and S 


they live in some quarters of the world, whilst they 
are not met with in others, in our Akhbar ez- 
zeinan, where we have also given an account of the 
nisnas* ^UwJM, and the 'irbid J^^xM, which are a 
sort of animals like serpents, in the Hajrf of 
Yemamah: the singular is, according to the opinion 
of some lexicographers, ^^. El-Motawakel asked, 
in the beginning of his Khalifat, Honain Ben Ishak 
to bring him, amongst other species of animals, 
some nisnas: only two specimens were brought for 
him to Serrmenray ; but he did not think to send 
for an 'irbad; perhaps because this animal perishes 
if it is removed from Yemamah,, at a certain dis- 
tance from this province, in the cage in which it is 
carried. The people of Yemamah use it against 
serpents, scorpions, and other vermin, as the people 
of Sijistan make use of the urchins Jolo for this 
purpose. In ancient times no urchin was killed 
in that country. This town was built by Alex- 
ander, in an open and sandy country, and it is sur- 
rounded by sand hills, which are supported by 
wood arid reeds. There are a number of vipers, 

* A kind of ape or satyr, which are said to inhabit the desert 
of el- Ahkaf. 

f This town is to be distinguished from el-Hijr, which is the 
Petra of ancient geographers : there is for the rest a passage in 
Pliny, lib. iv., cap. 32, where this town of Yemamah is to be 
understood under Petra. 


and several species of serpents ; so that if they had 
not many urchins, the inhabitants would be over- 
come by them. In the same situation are the 
Egyptians, in upper Egypt, and elsewhere. They 
have a little animal, which they call el-'iras u^-ty^l 
it is larger than a locust and smaller than a weazel, 
of a red colour, with a white belly ; and, if it was 
not for this reptile, the Egyptians would be over- 
come by basilisks ^UA!!, which are a sort of great 
serpents. When the basilisk forms a ring round 
this little animal, it emits an air, by which the 
basilisk bursts. This air is peculiar to this little 
animal. The east has several peculiarities in land 
and sea, in animals, vegetation, and such as are 
caused by the destructive effects of the hot season. 
The same can be said of the west, the Tayammon 
(J <yM, i.e., the south, and the Jari i^y*, which means 
the north. We have given an account of the nature 
of the quarters of the world, and it would be a di- 
gression from the plan of our work to enter into 
details on those subjects in this chapter. 

We will therefore return to the account of the 
nations which live in the neighbourhood of Bab 
el-Abwab, the wall, the Caucasus, the country of 
the Khazar, and the Alans. On the frontiers of 
the Khazar towards the west, live four Turkish 
nations, which derive their origin from the same 
forefather. Some of them are settled, whilst 
others are nomads. They are all brave and can 


resist any nation . Each of them has its own king, 
whose dominions have an extent of several days, 
and they are contiguous to each other. Some of 
them are on the Pontus. They extend their pre- 
datory excursions as far as Rome ***,; XijtX-o 
which is in the direction towards Spain. They are 
victorious over all the nations who live there. 
Between the king of the Khazar and the lord of 
el-Lan a friendship exists. They are immediate 
neighbours of the former. The first of these 


nations has the name Bajna Us? (<s? or tf^sr). 


The second is called Bajkord <^x==:, the next 
following nation is called Bajinak JU^ (Uar^v- 
a/arot), and is the bravest of the four. The fourth 
is called Nukerodah (Novgorod?) *<^Ty. Their 
kings have sovereign power*, they had wars with 
the Byzantines after the year 320 A.H. (932 A.D.) 
or in that yearf. The Byzantines have, oir"the~~ 
frontiers towards these four nations, a large Greek 
city which is called Walender^j^ ($OuJj or \jjj), 
which has a great population (garrison), and is 
protected by the sea on one side, and by mountains 
on the other. The inhabitants (garrison) of this 
town defended the country against the invasions of 


f Compare Cedrenus ad annum .934. 


the before mentioned four Turkish nations, and 
they were unable to penetrate into the country of 
the Byzantines, being precluded by mountains, the 
sea, and this town. These four nations have been 
at war with each other, on account of a dispute 
respecting a Moslim merchant of Ardobil, who, 
although he enjoyed the protection of hospitality of 
one of these nations, was injured by another. This 
gave rise to disunion. The Byzantines of Walen- 
der took advantage of it, invaded their country 
whilst they were disunited ; they took many of 
their children prisoners, and plundered their pro- 
perty. When they heard of this, as they were 
occupied in their war, they united under one com- 
mander, proclaimed a mutual amnesty, remitting 
blood revenge ; and the whole nation, about six 
thousand horse strong, at once repaired to the 
town of Walender, and this without being called 
out, and without collecting the men. If they had 
called out their men, they would have mustered 
about one hundred thousand horsemen. When 
Romanus who is the present emperor of the Byzan- 
tines, that is to say, in 332 A.H., had received 
intelligence, he sent against them twelve thousand 
(Arabic) horsemen* who had embraced the Chris- 

* The Taghlebites, some of the Rabi'ah, and other tribes of 
Syria and Mesopotamia, used to serve in the army of the Byzan- 
tine emperors. 


tian religion, with spears in the Arabic costume 
(Sj, and fifty thousand Byzantines. They came in 

- o .- 

eight days* to the town of Walender^ja^, encamped 
beyond the town, and took (partly) their quarters 
in the houses of the inhabitants. The Turks had 
already killed a vast number of the population of 
Walender, but they defended themselves with their 
walls till this reinforcement reached them. When 
the four kings had oberved that their enemies had 
received the aid of those (Arabs) who had turned 
Christians, and of the Byzantines, they sent unto 
their own country, which lies towards the country 
of the Khazar, Alans, Bab el-Abwab, and others, 
and collected the Moslim population j* who did not 
enlist except in wars against unbelievers. 

When the two armies had drawn up in battle 
array, the Christian Arabs advanced in front of the 
ranks of the Byzantines; and, on the side of the 
Turks, the merchants who were in their army pro- 
ceeded from the ranks, and invited them to the 
Mohammedan religion, promising to bring them 
into the Moslim territory, if they would take quar- 
ter from the Turks. They refused to accept these 

* One copy reads eighteen days. 

f One copy reads, they collected Moslim merchants who were 
resident in their country, in that of the Khazar, Bab el-Abwab, of 
the Alans, or any other country, and that portion of the four 
Turkish nations who had embraced the Islam. 

2 G 


terms, and they fought a general battle, in which 
the Christian Arabs and Byzantines were superior 
to the Turks; for their number was many times 
greater than that of their enemies. They remained 
that night at their posts. The four Turkish kings 
held a council, in which the king of the Bajinak 
said, " Give me the command to-morrow morning." 
They agreed to give it to him; and the next morn- 
ing they posted many close bodies of troops 
(squares), of a thousand men each, on the extremity 
of the right wing, and on the extremity of the left 
wing. When the soldiers were drawn up, the 
bodies of troops (squares)* of the extremity of the 
right wing advanced, and fell upon the centre of 
the enemy, fighting their way to the place of the 
squares which had been posted at the extremity of 
the left wing, and the latter advancing upon the 
right wing, fell equally upon the centre of the enemy, 
and fought their way to the right wing: an uninter- 
rupted shooting (of arrows, stones, &c.) ensued, and 
these bodies of troops ground the enemy like a mill- 
stone, following each other; but the centre, and the 
right and left wings of the Turks stood quiet, whilst 
the squares were in action. They fought thus: the 
squares of the Turks who went out from the extre- 

(j~*$S means the squares or close bodies, as they were 
in the Roman order of battle. But here it seems to mean light 
cavalry in contracjjstinction to the troops of the line. 


mity of the right wing opened their operations by 
shooting on the left wing of the Byzantines: they 
passed their (own) right wing, keeping up the shooting 
and came to the centre. The squares which came 
from the extremity of the left wing began to shoot 
on the side of the right wing of the enemy, proceeded 
to the left wing, and continued to shoot, advancing 
to the centre where the squares (of both sides) met, 
grinding the enemy, as we have said. When the 
Christian (Arabs) and the Byzantines saw their 
.state, and the breaking up of their ranks under the 
uninterrupted shower of arrows which came from 
their enemies, they charged the loose troops in front 
of the army. Thus they came close on the line of 
the Turks, which stood firm to receive them. The 
squares opened before them, and the Turks fell all 
at once en masse upon them ; this had the effect of 
putting the Byzantines to flight. The Turkish line 
[not the loose troops (or squares) of their battle 
array] charged, after this attack, the line of the 
enemy without intermission ; and, at the same time, 
the squares fought them from the right and left. 
They fell under the sword, and were in the greatest 
difficulty ; the cries of men and horses were terrible ; 
and about six thousand Byzantines and Christian 
(Arabs) were killed, so that they could almost 
ascend to the walls of the town over their carcases. 
The town was taken, the sword made several 
days' ravages ; and the inhabitants were made pri- 

2 G 2 


soners. After three days, the Turks proceeded 
towards Constantinople. They passed a number of 
cultivated districts, meadows, and estates, spreading 
slaughter and taking prisoners, till they came to the 
walls of Constantinople. There they staid for 
about forty days, and sold the captive women 
and children for linen, cloths of brocade, and 
silk. They put the men to the sword, none 
received quarter ; sometimes they did not spare even 
women and children. They made predatory excur- 
sions all over these countries, and as far as [the 
country of the Sclavonians and Rome. At present 
their invasion extends even to*] the frontiers of 
Spain, France, and Galicia. The predatory incur- 
sions of the above-mentioned Turkish nations con- 
tinue to this day to infest Constantinople, and the 
above-mentioned kingdoms. 

We return to the account of the Caucasus, the 
wall, and Bab el-Abwab, having given a concise 
account of the nations who live in those countries. 
One of these nations lives on the frontiers of the 
Alans, and has the name el-Abkhaz jLs?5N. They 
are Christians, and form a monarchy: the present 
king has the name et-Tobili ^X^LM (Theophilus?)f. 

* These words are left out in some MSS. and by Klaproth; and 
it is very likely that they are interpolated. 

f The MS. of Ley den reads thus : " They have at present 
their own king, but they are, nevertheless, under the supremacy 


The dominions of this Tobili are called Mesjid of 
Dul-Karnain (Alexander). The Abkhaz and Kha- 
zarians used to pay tribute to the governor of the 
frontiers of Tiflis, since the time when this city 
was subjected by the Mohammedans, who settled 
there (a military colony), which continued up to 
the reign of el-Mot awakel. There was a king in 
these frontiers, of the name of Ishak Ben Isma'il, 
who had subjected, with the Moslims whom he 
had under his command, the nations of that neigh- 
bourhood. They acknowledged their submission to 
him by paying the capitation tak. His power was 
in the ascendant (and he considered himself as an 
independent prince), until el-Motawakel sent an 
army against the frontier of Tiflis, which took the 
country by force, after some battles. Ishak was 
killed; for he had made himself independent in 
that country. It would be too long to relate his 
whole history, which is pretty well known in 

of the king of the Alans. Their country extends as far as the 
Caucasus. Next to them live the Khazarians j iV^U? wno are 
a great nation and profess the Christian religion. They are also 
called el-Hazran J jV^* They have at present a king of the 
name of Tobl'a ju/,yj, whose dominions occupy the place called 
Mesjid Dul-Karnain. The Abkhaz and Khazarians used to pay 
tribute to the governor of the frontiers of Tiflis," etc. 

Klaproth observes, that the Hazran occupied a part of Min- 
grelia and Guria. which is still called Kadzaro by the Turks. 


those countries and elsewhere, amongst persons 
possessed of a knowledge of history. He pretended 
to be a KoraTshite and of the Omaiyde family ; but 
it is not true. Since that time the Moslims have 
lost their power on the frontiers of Tiflis, and have 
never recovered it. The neighbouring kingdoms 
refused their submission, and they encroached upon 
the principal estates (villages) of Tiflis. You 
are obliged to pass through those unbelieving- 
nations if you wish to go to the most distant Mo- 
hammedan dominions about Tiflis, since they live 
all round this Moslim province, the inhabitants of 
which are a people of great strength and bravery; 
but they are surrounded by the said kingdoms. 

Beyond the Kharzan (j_>V^ (Hazaran), is the 
country of the Samsaha l^ua^!, who are Chris- 
tians, mixed, however, with Pagans : they have no 
king. Next to the Samsahians, between the fron- 
tier of Tiflis and the fortress Bab el-Lan, which we 
have described, is the kingdom of the Senarians 
x>^UxaJ! (Xj^U*a!l): their king has the name Ke- 
reskus u jjS' (^^fj.r). They are Christians, 
and believe that they are of Arabic origin, and 
a portion of the 'Oka'il* tribe (which belongs to the 

* One copy reads 
^ic <>, and another copy reads 


confederation) of the Modhar tribes (which have 
the same origin as the other) Nizar tribes. They 
have lived there from ancient times, and have 
subjected many nations of the Caucasus. I have 
seen in the country of Marib, in Yemen, several 
men of the 'Ok ail tribe, variously accoutred, and 
did not find any difference between them and the 
manners of their brethren on the Caucasus. This 
tends to strengthen their assertion. They have 
many horses and great wealth, and there are no 
people in all Yemen of the tribe of Nizar Ben 
Ma'add besides the ' Ok ail family, except the ac- 
counts which are given of the children of Anmar 
j{f\ Ben Nizar Ben Ma'add, of their immigration into 
Yemen, of the interview which Jarir Ben 'Abdullah 
el-Bajaliy ^X-rsOJ <*MUxc ^i jj.j^- had with the Pro- 
phet, and the history of the Bajilah ^X^s:. The 
Sinarians believe that they had lived with the 'Okail 
in the country of Marib, and that they sepa- 
rated from the 'Oka'il, who still live in Yemen, in 
ancient times, under several circumstances which 
are related in history. 

Next to the kingdom of the Sinarians lives a na- 
tion called Shakin * ($& who are Christians, inter- 
spersed with Moslims who are mostly merchants, 

* This is the country of Shakhi, which lies north of the Korr 
and Karabagh. (Klaproth.) 


or employed in other trades ^3^. Their king 
is at present, when we publish this book, Ader Ben 

Samah Ben Homayir (^U>) jj\$ ^j *v* ^j j\- 

Next to them is the kingdom of Ka'ilah XXo. 

The population of the capital consists of Moslims, 

whilst the villages, and estates about the town, are 

inhabited by Christians. Their present king is 

A'anbasah x*j^\ (***) The Lame. He gives 

shelter to robbers, vagabonds, and highwaymen. 

Next comes the kingdom of the Mukanians 
3USb>U. We have already mentioned this country, 
saying that it has been conquered, and now forms 
part of the dominions of Sharwan-Shah. But it is 
to be distinguished from a country on the coast of 
the sea of the Khazar, which has the same name. 
Mohammed Ben Yezid who is at present known as 
Sharwan-Shah sli {Jsj*** had been King Layidan- 
Shah *L3 j,JX)^, and his ancestors had the same 
title; for, at that time 'Ali Ben el-Haithem had the 
title of King Sharwan-Shah. But when 'AH was 
dead, Mohammed made himself master of (the 
dominions and title of) Sharwan-Shah and other 
countries, as we have related, after he had killed 
his uncles, and occupied the said kingdoms. He 
is in possession of a fortress, called the fortress of 
Tiar ^Uj, which is situated on the Caucasus, and 
the strongest known on earth, excepting a fortress 
in Paris not far from Siraf, on the sea coast, in a 


place called ez-Zirobad Jo^yi, which belongs to 
'Abdullah Ben Tmarah. This fortress has the name 
ofed-Dikdan ^JjXjjJl. 

There are many fortresses on earth of which 
strange stories are related, which have been collected 
by Abu-1-Hosa'in el-Medaini, in a monograph on 
this subject, which he has entitled, "The book of 
the Fortresses" &*tt ^UT. In this book are select 
stories respecting fortresses, some of which we have 
given in our Akhbar ez-zeman. 

Ei-Mas'udi says, this is a view of the account of 
the town Bab el-Abwab, the wall, Caucasus, and 
the inhabitants of these countries. We have given 
a detailed narration of their manners and modes in 
warfare, and of the stratagems of their kings, in our 
Akhbar ez-zeman. The accounts which we have 
given of them, and the descriptions of their kingdoms, 
dwell on objects which are palpable (i. e., the pre- 
sent state), and not on abstractions (or the history 
of past times), and which anybody who chooses to 
visit the countries which we have described may see*. 

'Oba'id Allah Ben Khordadbeh gives in his book 
which has the title of, "The Roads and the King- 
doms," the distances of places by the road (not as 


the crow flies), but he does not give any account of 
the kings and kingdoms. There is no use in show- 
ing merely the distances and roads, for this regards 
only sending couriers* and despatching parcels and 
letters. The same author mentions how great the 
revenue of the villages of elTrak was. Such 
account, however, cannot be correct, for the 
revenue is always sinking and rising, disminishing 
and increasing, according to circumstances f ; and he 
states, that the mount el-'Arij gj*$\ which is 
between Mekka and Medina coheres with the 
mountains of Syria, so that it is connected with the 
mount of el-Akra' at Antiochia, which is again in 
connexion with the mount el-Kam -\&J. This is a 
curious notice, and shows that he knew, that the 
various parts of the earth are connected, and no 
where interrupted nor separated, except, that in some 
places there are low, in others high, countries. His 

* The MS. of Ley den leaves the reading of this word doubt- 
ful, and others write _ .X5, instead of ^o. The reader may 
refer, respecting Ibn Khordadbeh, to the note to page 331. Here 
is confirmed what has been said there partly as conjecture, without 
being aware of this passage, namely, that Ibn Khordadbeh 's work 
was intended as a road and post book. Perhaps it was even the 
official directory. 

t I published the whole of this account of the land-tax of 
Ibn Khordadbeh, from the MS. of Oxford, with the accounts of 
some other authors on the same subject, in the Asiatic Journal 
of 1839. 


book may be considered as the best work in its way. 
Of equal merit is his book on the chronology and 
history of the nations before the Islam. 

Ahmad Ben et-Taib, the companion of el-Mo'- 
tadhed Billah, wrote a book on the same subject, in 
which he gives an account of the whole world ; but 
what he says, is, for the most part, contrary to 
truth ; and I believe that it is a pseudonym work 
to which his name is prefixed, for he was possessed 
of much more knowledge than what this book be- 
speaks; and if it is genuine, we must consider that 
God, the Almighty, gives, by his infinite wisdom, 
absolute power and mercy to his servants to 
those success in their labours to whom he thinks 

One of the Persian kings built the town of Bab 
el-Abwab, of the wall of which we have said, that it 
extends over land, sea, and mountains, and several 
fortresses: he settled military colonies there, and he 
defined the ranks of the kings. He wrote to the 
king of the Khazar, el-Lan, and Turks, and to the 
kings of other nations, who ruled over Berda'ah er- 
Rum, el-Bailakan, Aderbijan, Zanjan ^U^, (sic, or 
y^j), Abhar ^\ (^^0* Kazwin, Hamadan, ed- 
Dainawar, Nohawand, and other places which were 
under the dependency of el-Kufah and el- Basrah 
(after the Arabic conquests),, and form part of el- 
'Irak. God may keep the said nations within their 
limits, particularly since the Moslim power has been 


so reduced, and is in such a decline that the Byzan- 
tines are victorious over the Moslims; the pilgrim- 
age to Mekka is in a bad state; holy warfare 
is neglected; the highways are unsafe, and the 
roads bad ; every chief makes himself the independ- 
ent master of the provinces in which he is, as was 
the case under the kings of the Satrapies, after the 
death of Alexander, until Ardeshir Ben Babek Ben 
Sasan united the empire. He restored order, he 
rendered religious service safe, and promoted the 
cultivation of the country (by paying attention to 
irrigation, and thus it continued) until God sent his 
prophet, through whom he dispelled the darkness of 
wrong religions, and destroyed the services ordained 
by false creeds. The Islam was victorious till at 
present, but now, that is to say, in 332 A.H., under 
the Khalifat of Abu Ishak Ibrahim el-Mottaki Lilian 
its pillars give way, and its foundations are sinking. 
God is the helper in human affairs. 

There are many curious accounts connected 
with Bab el-Abwab, and the various fabrics which 
have been raised by Kisra Ben Kobad Ben Fairuz, 
that is to say*, Kisra Anusharwan: as the town 
of stone 2,lilXijjco near a place called el-Masit 

* The MS. of Ley den reads, " Who was the father of Anu- 
sharwan." If this reading is adopted, the word " Ben " before 
" Kobad " is to be left out. This alteration, however, is not con- 
firmed by any MS. 


(kjuJU)- The wall which he raised in the 
country of Sharwan and which is called the wall of 
clay, and the wall of stone which has the name el- 
Bermeki u * ri J!; other accounts refer to the coun- 
try of Berda'ah Xc<^j. We will not enter into fur- 
ther details, having spoken on this subject in our 
former works. 

The river el-Koru ^\ (jjfy (Korr or Cyrus) 
rises in the country of Khazaran in the kingdom of 
Jerir jjj^ ; it takes its course through the country 
of Abkhaz* to the province of Tiflis, which forms 
the Moslim frontier ; in the middle of this province 
it is divided and runs to the Solawerdians Xj^LJI, 
(XjJ^UJJ or XjjjUJ!) (Shulawerdi) who are a 
brave and strange nation of Armenian origin, 
as we have said. From these the hatchets called 
Xj^ *U*J1 (we) i^UL, \f&> have their name ; which 
are in use with the Siabihah X^L**]! (Xx^UiJ!) 
and other Barbarian corps p^U^ JJ^.. This river, 
which has the name el-Korr^Xl!, passes through Bar- 
daj TT^JJ a place of the province of Berda'ah, and 
a few miles distant from this capital ; then it receives 
near es-Sinarah iT,l,Ldt (sJlyaJJ) the river es-Ras 
u*y (ur^l^)> which runs near Trebizond. And 
after these two rivers are united, they fall into the 
sea of the Khazar. 

* The MSS. read . .Ur*\ and ,^\A\. 


The river er-Ras comes from the dominions of 
Babek el-Khorrami ^j^ joL, which are called the 
country of Badin ^jjXf, and belong to Aderbijan, 

and from a mount, which has the name of Jebel 
Abi Miisa, in el-Gharat* ci^U!i: on this moun- 
tain live several nations, belonging to er-Ran, in 
Armenia. It passes the town Warthan ^lij^ 
(^ydjj), and it comes to the place where it falls 
into the Korr, near the village called Sinarah, as 
we have said. 

The river Isfedrtid j^JujU, which means the 
White River, by the way of the transposition of the 
words, according to the genius of each of the two 
languages, the Persian and the Arabicf, passes 
through the country of ed-Dailem, and washes the 

castle which has the name Kal'ah of Salar ^^U- 
(&*)) which is the name of Ibn Aswar the Dai- 

lemite ^JbAJJ j\y*\ (jj^^ wno * s one f the kings of 
ed-Dailem, who has at present [that is to say, in 
the date when we write this book] rendered himself 

* Some copies read er-Ran. 


literally, " According to the putting before and behind between 
the two languages, namely, the Persian and the Arabic." That 
is to say, the Persians put the adjective before the substantive, 
and say the white river ; whilst the Arabs observe the reverse 
order, saying the river the white. 


master of Aderbijan. Then this river takes its 
course from ed-Dailem to el-Jil J/Jj [from Jil is 
derived Jilan j,3U>], and there it receives another 
river from the country of ed-Dailem, which is called 
Shahanrud ^5ll (^.j^jfcLi) , that is to say, the 
King of Rivers : it is so called on account of the 
purity, white colour, limpidness, and abundance of 
its waters. These two united rivers fall into the 
sea of the Dai'lem, the Khazar, and other nations 
who live on its coasts. The majority of the popu- 
lation on the banks of these rivers form the Dailem 
and the Jil, who have conquered and subjected a 
great part of the country. 

Having given an account of the Caucasus, the 
nations who live on it, and round it, of Bab el- 
Abwab, and the Khazar, we will proceed to speak 
of the kings of the Assyrians, who are considered 
as the first monarchs in astronomical tables (observa- 
tions) and chronology ; then follow the kings of 
el-Mausil and of Ninive ; then the kings of Babel,, 
who are the cultivators of the earth, who have dug 
canals, planted trees, converted waste lands into 
fields, and made roads. These are followed by the 
first series of Persian kings, who are the Jahan 
w llj^ (..jljfclJ^), which means Lords, down to 
Feridun : then follow the Askan ^IsCJ, the last of 
whom was Dara Ben Dara, which is the same as 
Darius: the are the Soki'm 


(Kaianians). After them follow the kings of the 
Satrapies, who are the Ashghan ^UliSM. Then 
comes the second series of Persian (kings), that is 
to say, the Sasanians : then the Greeks : then 
follows the Roman empire. We shall add the 
kings of the Arabs (or Maghrib) who followed 
them. We shall also give an historical account of 
the Sudan, of Egypt, Alexandria, and of other places 
of the earth, if it is the will of God ; for there is no 
strength but in God. 




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